Dutch Court Drops Discrimination Case Against Cartoonist

September 21 2010

The Dutch public prosecution has dropped charges against a cartoonist arrested in 2008 on charges of discriminating against Muslims. The department decided that although the cartoons in question do discriminate against Muslims and ‘people with dark skins’ , they have not appeared on the artist’s website since shortly after his arrest. As the complaint was made in 2005 and the artist spent a day and a half in jail following his arrest, the case was determined to be ‘dated’.

Hirsi Ali receives newspaper honor

Ayaan Hirsri Ali, the former Dutch politician born in Somalia, has received a free speech award from Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper which published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005. The paper named Hirsi Ali, well known for writing Theo Van Gogh’s film “Submission”, as winner of its Prize for Freedom of Expression. She is now lives in the United States

Arab League in Netherlands faces fines for cartoons

Thu Dutch branch of the European Arab League should be fined for publishing a cartoon implying that Jews invented the idea that six million people died in the holocaust, according to the public prosecution department. The comments refer to the cartoons published on the EAL’s website four years ago in response to the Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed. The prosecution department made the comments Thursday, suggesting that the EAL be fined one thousand Euros and that Dutch representative Abdimoutalib Bouzerda face an additional five hundred Euros.

Danish newspaper apologizes for offending Muslims with the printing of Muhammad cartoons

Politiken newspaper, one of 11 Danish newspapers that reprinted the Mohammed cartoons, has issued an apology to eight Muslim organizations for offending Muslims – allegedly to avoid a lawsuit. The settlement reached between the paper and the organizations does not, however, apologize for the printing of the cartoons, nor prevent the paper from reprinting them in the future. The eight organizations who reached the agreement with Politiken are based in Egypt, Libya, Qatar, Australia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Palestine. Together they represent 94,923 descendents of the Prophet Mohammed.

In August last year, the groups’ Saudi lawyer, Faisal Yamani, requested that Politiken and 10 other newspapers remove the images from their websites and issue apologies along with a promise that the images, or similar ones, will never be printed again. Politiken is the only one of the 11 newspapers who has agreed on a settlement. Yamani says that within the next weeks the eight Muslim organizations will announce what kind of legal actions they will now take against the ten newspapers who haven’t agreed on a settlement.

Jyllands-Posten newspaper initially published the drawings in 2005, but following the murder plot in 2008 against one of the cartoonists, Kurt Westergaard, 11 major Danish newspapers reprinted them as a symbol of solidarity. Politiken, which had initially been critical of the cartoons, chose to reprint Westergaard’s drawing and an editorial comment that said Jyllands-Posten deserved unconditional solidarity when it is threatened with terror. However, Politiken’s statement today said the decision to reprint the drawing of a man with a bomb in his turban was never intended as a “statement of editorial opinion or value, but merely as part of the newspaper’s news coverage”. The apology stated that it was “never Politiken’s intention to offend Muslims in Denmark or elsewhere. We apologize to anyone who was offended by our decision to reprint the cartoon drawing”.

Politiken’s editor-in-chief, Tøger Seidenfaden, says he is hoping the agreement will help improve relations between Denmark and the Muslim world and that “other acts of dialogue and reconciliation may follow”. But the move has been derided by other newspapers, cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and leading politicians. Other newspapers which reprinted the cartoon, including Berlingske Tidende, Kristeligt Dagblad and the original publisher Jyllands-Posten, refused to enter into the same agreement with the organizations. Jyllands-Posten editor, Jørn Mikkelsen, called it a “sad day for Danish media, for freedom of speech and for Politiken”. In 2006 Jyllands-Posten apologized for upsetting some Muslims with the cartoons, but Mikkelsen believes that Politiken’s apology crosses the line as it was made as part of a deal. Meanwhile, Westergaard accused the Politiken of giving up on freedom of speech and said they had given into the fear of terror. However, professor in rhetoric at University of Copenhagen, Christian Kock says that Jyllands-Posten apology from 2006 and Politiken’s apology are more or less similar. None of them apologizes for printing the cartoons. They apologize for offending Muslims by doing it. The difference is that Politikens apology is part of a settlement with Muslim organizations.

Opposition leaders Helle Thorning-Schmidt of the Social Democrats and Villy Søvndal of the Socialist People’s Party called the move outrageous and said deals should not be done involving freedom of speech. Not all politicians are deriding Politiken. Leader of Danish Social-Liberal Party Margrethe Vestager thinks Politiken acts courageously by choosing dialogue rather than confrontation. Also the Danish imam Abdul Wahid Pedersen praises Politiken for the apology. He doesn’t think the agreement is a threat against freedom of speech: “Politiken doesn’t apologize for printing the cartoons. They apologize for having offended some by doing it” Wahid Pedersen says.

Norwegian Aftenposten re-publishes the Danish cartoons

After a week of debate Aftenposten decided to re-publish the Danish cartoons Friday 8. The recent attack on cartoonist Kurt Westergaard brings the re-publication of the cartoons up tp date, says aftenpostens editor in chief Hilde Haugsgjerd. -We’ve all the time defended the right to publish the drawings, and we published a facsimile of them in the beginning of the conflict in 2005. When the conflict escalated and turned international in 2006 we refrained from publishing them.

Sudanese government accuses Danish director of making Islamophobic movie

The Danish director Susanne Bier is now shooting a new movie in Kenya, titled Hævnen (The Revenge). The movie primarily takes place in Denmark and depicts a young boy’s problematic relationship with his father, who works in a refugee camp as a doctor.

Part of the story touches on the war in Sudan’s Darfur region. The movie tracks refugees from camps in Sudan to their new lives in a small Denmark town.

Bier says the movie has nothing to do with Islam.

But the Sudanese government has released a statement saying Bier’s movie aims to represent “non-existing conditions in Darfur”, and that the movie is being made in the same spirit as the Islamophobic Dutch film Fitna, as well as the Danish Muhammad-cartoons.

Danish PhD-fellow and expert in Sudanese Affairs, Anders Hastrup, stresses that the Sudanese government takes every opportunity to re-describe the conflict in Darfur as a conflict between the Islamic and Western world. Hastrup says: “The Sudanese government is very vigilant and everything Danish is already demonized because of the Muhammad-cartoons so when a Danish director is making a movie about something related to Sudan the Sudanese government blows it up and tries to foster distrust to everything Western among the Sudanese population”.

The Danish minister of Foreign Affairs has answered the Sudanese government by saying there is freedom of speech and freedom of artistic expression in Denmark. He underlines that no other Muslim country has provided a critique of Bier’s movie.

To publish or not to publish…opposing opinions concerning caricatures

In Norway the debate on the so called Muhammad cartoons is back on the agenda as a result of the January 1 attack on Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.

Per Edgar Kokkvold, secretary general of the Norwegian Press Association, is critical of the general decision among Norwegian newspapers not to publish the caricatures. Not to publish the “harmless drawings is not to show respect of Muslim belief, but to bow down in fear of Islamist terror;” Kokkvold says. “The freedom of speech and religion is of such fundamental significance to our way of life that it is of utmost importance to draw the line,” he continues.

Akhtar Chaudhry, vice president of the Norwegian Parliament, says the attack on Westergaard is repelling, and an unacceptable attack on the freedom of speech. Even so, Chaudhry believes it is wrong to publish the caricatures in Norwegian newspapers and asks everyone to keep their calm and reconsider their responsibility not to arouse feelings that might contribute to tensions between different groups in society.

Arab League to Face Prosecution for Anti Semitic Cartoon

The Arab European League (AEL) is being prosecuted for insulting Jews by publishing a cartoon suggesting they invented the Holocaust, the Dutch public prosecution office said today.

Last month, Dutch prosecutors ordered the league to remove the cartoon from its website or face prosecution. The cartoon was punishable, they found, “because it offends Jews on the basis of their race and/or religion”, Agence France Press reports in The Peninsula. The public prosecution office said it told the AEL two weeks ago that publishing the cartoon was illegal but that it would drop the case if the group removed the cartoon from its website within two weeks and agreed not to republish it.

According to Reuters reports in SABC News, Abdoulmouthalib Bouzerda, chairman of the Dutch AEL, said the group had published a disclaimer at the time saying it did not support the views of the cartoons it used. Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports that the AEL acquiesced to the request, but then it put the cartoon back on the website claiming that the ruling was an instance of double standards, since the republication of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad was allowed in the Netherlands. It removed cartoon once again on September 2. Finally, DutchNews reports that the cartoon was taken off the AEL’s website three years ago, but the league decided to republish it to highlight the double standards operating in society, as the AEL prosecution comes after a decision not to put politician Geert Wilders on trial for republishing Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad on his website.

No Prosecution for Website Publishing Danish Cartoons

The Dutch Public Prosecution Department has announced that Geert Wilders and TV program Nova will not be prosecuted for publishing controversial Danish cartoons online. The 12 cartoons depicting Mohammad led to worldwide unrest when published in a Danish newspaper in 2006. The department determined that because the reproduced cartoons target Mohammad and not Muslims in general, they “do not insult Muslims nor incite hatred” and their reproduction is not punishable by law.

However the department will prosecute the pro-Arab Arabische Europese Liga unless it removes a cartoon depicting two Jews inventing the holocaust from its website. That cartoon does ‘insult Jews because of their race and/or religion’ because it implies Jews themselves invented the idea that six million were killed during World War II, the department said. Although the website removed the cartoons earlier, they have since republished them, as chairman Abdoulmouthalib Bouzerda claims that the prosecutor’s office is applying double standards. He adds that “given the decision not to interpret the Muhammad cartoon as offensive to Muslims, the decision that the publication of the AEL carton is liable to prosecution is incomprehensible”.

Why did Yale University Press remove images of Mohammed from a book about the Danish cartoons?

The capitulation of Yale University Press to threats that hadn’t even been made yet is the latest and perhaps the worst episode in the steady surrender to religious extremism‹particularly Muslim religious extremism that is
spreading across our culture. A book called The Cartoons That Shook the World, by Danish-born Jytte Klausen, who is a professor of politics at Brandeis University, tells the story of the lurid and preplanned campaign of
“protest” and boycott that was orchestrated in late 2005 after the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten ran a competition for cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. (The competition was itself a response to the sudden refusal of a Danish publisher to release a book for children about the life of Mohammed, lest it, too, give offense.) By the time the hysteria had been called off by those who incited it, perhaps as many as 200 people around the world had
been pointlessly killed.