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 Wednesday, February 08, 2006

How the Cartoon Crisis Unfolded: A Chronology of Events


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  • Denmark's prime minister said on Tuesday violent Muslim protests over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad were a worldwide crisis spinning out of the control of governments. "We're facing a growing global crisis that has the potential to escalate beyond the control of governments and other authorities," Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said as anti-Danish protests spread in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. U.N. peacekeepers from Norway, which has also attracted Muslim wrath after a Norwegian paper reproduced the cartoons, were attacked by mob in Afghanistan.In a poll by Epinion for Danish radio, about four in 10 people said publication of the cartoons meant there was now a serious risk of an attack. The cartoon row raised concerns for the safety of Danish troops in Afghanistan and in Iraq, though there are no plans to pull out. On Tuesday, in Afghanistan, protesters armed with assault rifles and grenades attacked the NATO base in the northern city of Maymana, which is manned by peacekeepers from Norway, Finland, Latvia and Sweden, local officials said.
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  • In Philippines, hundreds of Muslims burned a Danish flag in Cotabato City yesterday and urged a boycott of Danish products.The protesters, mainly religious students demanded that the Danish government take action against the newspaper that first published the 12 editorial cartoons.Read here for more

  • COMMENTARY: FREEDOM of expression is a much-valued asset in liberal democracies. The right to express one's views freely and without fear of discrimination or persecution sets Western democracies apart from quasi-democratic regimes in the developing world.This freedom has been a beacon for many Muslims fleeing authoritarian rule. European Muslims, numbering more than 30 million, have found protection and freedom under this tolerant liberalism. Freedom of expression, however, is not a carte blanche for slander. It is commonly acknowledged that rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. What makes this episode even more alarming is the reckless neglect of its predictable implications. It is no secret that Muslims in Europe, Australia and North America feel besieged. The war on terror has put Muslims in the spotlight. There is an ongoing public debate about connections between Islam and terrorism.Read here for more

  • COMMENTARY:The last thing these governments want is another confrontation in which Islam is seen to be pitched against the West. The strategy therefore is to try to prevent this from becoming a "clash of civilisations". Officials fear Islamic radicals will exploit the issue, further justifying their case that the West is basically hostile to Islam. Islamist websites are already calling for revenge attacks. But it has become a clash of culture, an argument about how far free speech should prevail over the sensitivities of a religious or other group. Western government statements have been remarkably uniform. Read here for more

    Breaking News

    Danish paper that printed cartoons of Prophet Muhammad rejected Jesus cartoons in 2003

    Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that have caused a storm of protest throughout the Islamic world, refused to run drawings lampooning Jesus Christ in 2003 , it has emerged today.

    The Danish daily turned down the cartoons of Christ three years ago, on the grounds that they could be offensive to readers and were not funny.

    In April 2003, Danish illustrator Christoffer Zieler submitted a series of unsolicited cartoons dealing with the resurrection of Christ to Jyllands-Posten.

    Zieler received an email back from the paper's Sunday editor, Jens Kaiser, which said: "I don't think Jyllands-Posten's readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an outcry. Therefore, I will NOT use them."

    Read here for more

    Read here original article in Financial Times

    A step-by-step chronology of the Cartoon Crisis as they unfold.

    Sep 17 2005:
    Politiken, a Danish newspaper, runs an article under the headline ”Deep fear of criticism of Islam”, detailing the difficulty encountered by the writer Kåre Bluitgen, who had difficulties finding an illustrator for his children’s book on the life of Mohammed.

    Sep 30:
    Jyllands-Posten, one of Denmark’s best-selling daily newspapers, publishes 12 cartoons of the Prophet to illustrate the problem.

    Oct 12:
    Ambassadors from 10 mainly Muslim nations and the Palestinian representative in Denmark call the cartoons deeply offensive and demand a meeting with Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, urging him “to take all those responsible to task”.

    Oct 21:
    Mr Rasmussen says offended parties should use the courts to air their grievances and refuses to meet the ambassadors.

    Oct 28:
    A coalition of Danish Muslim groups files a criminal complaint against Jyllands-Posten newspaper. A regional prosecutor investigates the complaint, but decides NOT to press charges.

    The Danish Muslim coalition visits the Middle East. seeking support from religious and political leaders.

    Jan 1 2006:
    Mr Rasmussen condemns any actions that “attempt to demonise groups of people on the basis of their religion or ethnic background,’’ but reiterates Denmark’s commitment to freedom of speech.

    Jan 4:
    Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the Arab League, joins the protests.

    Jan 10:
    Magazinet, a Norwegian Christian newspaper, reprints the cartoons.

    Jan 25:
    Saudi Arabia’s religious leaders demand an apology and call for the Jyllands-Posten newspaper to be punished.

    Jan 26:
    Saudi ambassador is recalled from Copenhagen. Danish companies in Riyadh report a boycott of Danish goods and supermarkets remove products from the shelves.

    Jan 27:
    Protests begin to spread across the Middle East

    Jan 30:
    Jyllands-Posten publishes a statement on its website, saying it regretted offending Muslims and offered an apology, but said it had a right under Danish law to print the cartoons.

    Jan 31:
    Mr Rasmussen calls for calm in the dispute, but the Danish Muslims group say the Jyllands-Posten apology is “ambiguous” and demands a clearer one.

    Feb 1 - 2:
    Media in France, Germany, Britain, Spain, the US, Iceland, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Hungary, reprint the cartoons.

    Feb 2:
    France Soir, a Paris daily tabloid, sacks its managing editor for publishing the drawings, but defends its right to print them. In Jordan, the weekly newspaper Shihan’ publishes them with an editorial by former Jordanian senator Jihad Momani but later withdraws issues from circulation.

    Feb 3:
    Danish prime minister meets ambassadors and diplomats from more than 70 countries. Mona Omar Attia, Egypt’s ambassador says the Danish government’s response is inadequate.

    Feb 4:
    A South African court prohibits newspapers from publishing the cartoons. Protesters in Damascus attack the Danish and Norwegian embassies. Mr Momani and Mr Hisham Khalid, editor of al-Mehwar, another Jordanian weekly that published the cartoons, are arrested and charged with insulting religion

    Feb 5:
    Protestors storm the Danish Embassy in Beirut. One person is left dead and several are injured. Iran recalls its ambassador to Denmark. Denmark says it is withdrawing diplomatic staff from Syria and recommending Danes leave the country. Norway confirms it is taking the same action with diplomatic staff in Syria.

    Feb 6:
    Lebanon apologises to Denmark. EU leaders call for calm. Protests erupt in Afghanistan where one person died. Danish and Austrian embassies attacked in Tehran.

    Feb 7:
    Austria, holders of the EU presidency, demand Muslim states improve security measures for European citizens and premises after attacks. Iran suspends trade with Denmark. Norwegian NATO peacekeepers attacked in Afghanistan as demonstrations escalate.

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    Comments 1


    Blogger Mai said...


    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a mercy to all human beings, regardless of their religious background. We, as his followers, must live and spread this message today at a time when hatefulness and ugliness towards each other has become the norm.

    The statements of the world well-known personalities about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), like Sir George Bernard Shaw, Michael H. Hart, Encyclopedia Britannica, Thomas Calyle, Mahatma Gandhi, Lamar Tine and Prof. Rama Krishna Rao etc.


    ".... A mass of detail in the early sources show that he was an honest and upright man who had gained the respect and loyalty of others who were like-wise honest and upright men." (Vol. 12)

    Sir George Bernard Shaw in 'The Genuine Islam,' Vol. 1, No. 8, 1936.

    "If any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam."

    "I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion, which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence, which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him - the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity."

    "I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today."

    He was by far the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. He preached a religion, founded a state, built a nation, laid down a moral code, initiated numerous social and political reforms, established a powerful and dynamic society to practice and represent his teachings and completely revolutionized the worlds of human thought and behavior for all times to come.

    "HIS NAME IS MUHAMMAD" May Peace of God Be Upon Him (pbuh) He was born in Arabia in the year 570 C.E. (common era), started his mission of preaching the religion of Truth, Islam (submission to One God) at the age of forty and departed from this world at the age of sixty-three.

    During this short period of 23 years of his Prophethood, he changed the complete Arabian peninsula from paganism and idolatry to worship of One God, from tribal quarrels and wars to national solidarity and cohesion, from drunkenness and debauchery to sobriety and piety, from lawlessness and anarchy to disciplined living, from utter bankruptcy to the highest standards of moral excellence. Human history has never known such a complete transformation of a people or a place before or since - and IMAGINE all these unbelievable wonders in JUST OVER TWO DECADES.

    MICHAEL H. HART in his recently published book on ratings of men who contributed towards the

    benefit and upliftment of mankind writes:

    "My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels." (M.H. Hart, THE 100: A RANKING OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS IN HISTORY, New York, 1978, p. 33) Lamar tine the renowned historian speaking on the essentials of human greatness wonders:

    "If greatness of purpose, smallness of means and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislation, empires, peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls.... his forbearance in victory, his ambition, which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire; his endless prayers, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death; all these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was two-fold, the unity of God and the immateriality of God; the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not; the one overthrowing false gods with the sword, the other starting an idea with the words.

    "Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images, the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is MUHAMMAD. As regards all the standards by which Human Greatness may be measured, we may well ask, IS THERE ANY MAN GREATER THAN HE?"

    (Lamar tine, HISTOIRE DE LA TURQUIE, Paris, 1854, Vol. II, pp 276-277)

    The world has had its share of great personalities. But these were one-sided figures who distinguished themselves in but one or two fields, such as religious thought or military leadership. The lives and teachings of these great personalities of the world are shrouded in the mist of time. There is so much speculation about the time and place of their birth, the mode and style of their life, the nature and detail of their teachings and the degree and measure of their success or failure that it is impossible for humanity to reconstruct accurately the lives and teachings of these men.

    Not so this man. Muhammad (pbuh) accomplished so much in such diverse fields of human thought and behavior in the fullest blaze of human history. Every detail of his private life and public utterances has been accurately documented and faithfully preserved to our day. The authenticities of the record so preserved are vouched for not only by the faithful followers but also even by his prejudiced critics.

    Muhammad (pbuh) was a religious teacher, a social reformer, a moral guide, an administrative colossus, a faithful friend, a wonderful companion, a devoted husband, a loving father - all in one. No other man in history ever excelled or equaled him in any of these different aspects of life - but it was only for the selfless personality of Muhammad (pbuh) to achieve such incredible perfections.

    MAHATMA GANDHI Speaking on the character of Muhammad, (pbuh) says in YOUNG INDIA:

    "I wanted to know the best of one who holds today's undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind.... I became more than convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to this friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the 2nd volume (of the Prophet's biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of the great life."

    THOMAS CALYLE in his HEROES AND HEROWORSHIP, was simply amazed as to:

    "How one man single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades."

    "The lies (Western slander) which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammad) are disgraceful to ourselves only."

    "A silent great soul, one of that who cannot but be earnest. He was to kindle the world, the world's Maker had ordered so."


    "Muhammad was the soul of kindness, and his influence was felt and never forgotten by those around him." (D.C. Sharma, THE PROPHETS OF THE EAST, Calcutta, 1935, pp. 12)

    EDWARD GIBBON and SIMON OCKLEY speaking on the profession of ISLAM write:

    "'I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD, AND MAHOMET, AN APOSTLE OF GOD' is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honor of the Prophet has never transgressed the measure of human virtues; and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion." (HISTORY OF THE SARACEN EMPIRES, London, 1870, p. 54) Muhammad (pbuh) was nothing more or less than a human being. But he was a man with a noble mission, which was to unite humanity on the worship of ONE and ONLY ONE GOD and to teach them the way to honest and upright living based on the commands of God. He always described himself as, 'A Servant and Messenger of God,' and so indeed every action of his proclaimed to be.

    The famous poetess of India, SAROJINI NAIDU says:

    "It was the first religion that preached and practiced democracy; for, in the mosque, when the call for prayer is sounded and worshippers are gathered together, the democracy of Islam is embodied five times a day when the peasant and king kneel side by side and proclaim: 'God Alone is Great'... I have been struck over and over again by this indivisible unity of Islam that makes man instinctively a brother." S. Naidu, IDEALS OF ISLAM, vide Speeches & Writings, Madras, 1918, p. 169)

    In the words of PROF. HURGRONJE:

    "The league of nations founded by the prophet of Islam put the principle of international unity and human brotherhood on such universal foundations as to show candle to other nations." He continues: "The fact is that no nation of the world can show a parallel to what Islam has done towards the realization of the idea of the League of Nations."

    The world has not hesitated to raise to divinity, individuals whose lives and missions have been lost in legend. Historically speaking, none of these legends achieved even a fraction of what Muhammad (pbuh) accomplished. And all his striving was for the sole purpose of uniting mankind for the worship of One God on the codes of moral excellence. Muhammad (pbuh) or his followers never at any time claimed that he was a Son of God or the God-incarnate or a man with divinity - but he always was and is even today considered as only a Messenger chosen by God.

    K. S. RAMAKRISHNA RAO, an Indian Professor of Philosophy in his booklet, "Muhammad, The Prophet of Islam," calls him the "PERFECT MODEL FOR HUMAN LIFE." Prof. Ramakrishna Rao explains his point by saying: "The personality of Muhammad, it is most difficult to get into the whole truth of it. Only a glimpse of it I can catch. What a dramatic succession of picturesque scenes! There is Muhammad, the Prophet. There is Muhammad, the Warrior; Muhammad, the Businessman; Muhammad, the Statesman; Muhammad, the Orator; Muhammad, the Reformer; Muhammad, the Refuge of Orphans; Muhammad, the Protector of Slaves; Muhammad, the Emancipator of Women; Muhammad, the Judge; Muhammad, the Saint. All in all these magnificent roles, in all these departments of human activities, he is alike a hero."

    Today after a lapse of fourteen centuries, the life and teachings of MUHAMMAD (pbuh) have survived without the slightest loss, alteration or interpolation. They offer the same undying hope for treating mankind's many ills, which they did when he was alive. This is not a claim of Muhammad's (pbuh) followers but also the inescapable conclusion forced upon by a critical and unbiased history.

    The least you could do, as Muslims or non-Muslims, as thinking and concerned human beings, is to stop for a moment and ask yourself: These statements/comments sounding so extraordinary and revolutionary come from renown and intellectually honest and internationally recognized persons of their times who were not Muslim. Isn't it time for all Muslims and non Muslims to respond to this tremendous challenge and put in some effort to know him, follow him and emulate him in our day to day life? It will cost us nothing but it may prove to be the beginning of a completely new era in our lives.


    Courtesy: Abdullah AM []

    Compiled, edited and adapted by Khalid Latif

    8:22 AM

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