New Page 1

 Monday, February 06, 2006

Ordinary CITIZENS Paying the Price for JOURNALISTS' Religious Insensitivities and Callousness


  • Denmark and Norway said on Sunday its nationals had begun to leave Syria after protesters torched their embassies in the country as tensions rose over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed. Danes were also told to leave Lebanon, and Norwegians were advised to remain indoors, after protesters there attacked the Danish consulate.“About 70 Danes live in Syria. Some left last (Saturday) night, others this morning,” Danish foreign ministry spokesman Lars Thuesen told AFP on Sunday.Those who had not yet left were advised to stay indoors “until we have found a way to get them out of there”, he said. The Danish government is not currently providing transport for those wanting to leave, but has otherwise offered all the assistance it could, he said.Read here for more

  • The backlash throughout the Muslim world against a series of Danish cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad is having a severe impact on at least one prominent business in Denmark. Arla Foods, one of Europe's biggest dairy companies, normally sells products worth $480m (£272m) a year to the Middle East. But a boycott of Danish firms across the region has reduced the company's sales there to zero in a matter of days.Danish-Swedish dairy giant Arla Foods says the ongoing boycott of Danish products in the Middle East had so far cost it between £40m and £50m. As the Muslim world refuses to buy Danish goods in protest over cartoons published in a Danish newspaper, Arla is losing £1m a day. Arla says it has been caught up in "a game that we have no part in", forcing it to send home 170 employees until demand picks up again. "We have built up our business in the Middle East countries for 40 years, and have had production in Saudi Arabia for 20 years, and then within five days or so this is all in ruins",Arla spokesman Louis Honore said.Read here for more

  • Militant groups on Sunday called for attacks on Danish troops in Iraq and people from all countries where cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad have been published. One insurgent group in Iraq called on followers to capture Danish soldiers and "cut them into as many pieces as the number of newspapers that printed the cartoons".The Islamic Army in Iraq also named France, Holland, Norway and Spain - where last week newspapers published the cartoons - as enemies of Islam whose citizens should be targeted.In Ramadi another group issued leaflets demanding retribution against Danes.A British spokesman for the coalition said: "The Danes are actively engaging with the local population to explain the situation through leaflets, appearing on TV and by meeting local officials. They are saying Danish soldiers respect Islam and the Prophet Mohammed and cannot be held accountable for what independent newspapers are doing back home." Denmark maintains about 430 troops in southern Iraq as part of the US-led multinational command. Read here for more

  • The Iraqi transport ministry has decided to cancel its contracts with Danish firms and reject any offers of Danish reconstruction money to protest the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, the minister said on Sunday. Read here for more

  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday ordering the cancellation of economic contracts with countries where the media have carried the "repulsive" cartoons.New Zealand became the latest nation unwillingly drawn in at the weekend, after two newspapers ran the cartoons in a move likely to cost the country its $NZ100 million ($A92 million) sheep trade with Iran. Tim Pankhurst, editor of Wellington's Dominion Post — owned by John Fairfax, which also owns The Age — said the paper published the cartoons as an issue of solidarity and press freedom. The New Zealand Government condemned the newspapers. Read here for more

  • Muslim cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed has called for capital punishment for cartoonists who dare depict the Prophet Muhammad. Speaking to BBC radio from Lebanon on Monday, where he now lives, Bakri claimed "everybody" now acknowledged that cartoons of the prophet which first appeared in a Danish newspaper in September were insulting. "In Islam, God said, and the messenger Muhammad said, whoever insults a prophet, he must be punished and executed," he added. "This man (the cartoonist) should be put on trial and ... executed" if proven guilty. In an apparent reference to Denmark, where the government has defended the cartoons on freedom-of-speech grounds, Bakri also said that if nations fail to put people on trial for insulting Muhammad, they must "face the consequences ". "We are not saying ourselves to go there and start to look to him and kill him, we are not talking about that. We are talking about Islamic rules. If anybody insults the prophet, he will have to take a punishment," he said.Read here for more

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer, one of the few U.S. newspapers to publish a caricature of the Prophet Mohammad from a series that sparked a wave of protests by Muslims, defended the action on Sunday by saying it was just doing its job."This is the kind of work that newspapers are in business to do," said Amanda Bennett, the newspaper's editor.Most U.S. news outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today, have declined to run any of the images so far, instead describing them in words as they cover the outraged reaction by Muslims to the cartoons.Read here for more

  • EUROPE was abandoned by the British and US political and media elite at the weekend as the conflict surrounding the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed escalated dramatically.The majority of the British and US press refused to reprint the offensive caricatures, first published in Denmark in September, citing limitations on freedom of speech and the religious feelings of Muslims. Undeterred by the lack of support from across the Channel, European newspapers and broadcasters continued to publish the cartoons over the weekend.Le Monde (France) yesterday carried two of the "least offensive" of the 12 Danish cartoons, ostensibly as a service to readers curious about the controversy after a week of reports. One of the cartoons featured Mohammed on a cloud welcoming weary suicide bombers to paradise with the greeting: "Stop, stop, we ran out of Virgins!" On Friday, Le Monde printed a front-page sketch by its acclaimed cartoonist Plantu depicting the prophet appearing through a series of repeated words stating: "I must not draw Mohammed, I must not draw Mohammed". British Foreign Minister Jack Straw and the Bush administration condemned the newspapers that chose to publish the images, and Mr Straw deplored their "insensitivity and lack of respect".Read here for more

  • An Australian website has published the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed that sparked riots among Islamic militants.Political commentator Tim Blair has published 12 of the cartoons on his website.Mr Blair said he would ignore warnings from the general secretary of the Board of Imams of Victoria that the cartoons could "disturb people who can do things that we don't want them to do". Read here for more

  • ANTI-Muslim cartoons would fuel similar outrage in Australia, an expert on Christian-Muslim relationships said today. Abe Ata, a researcher at the Australian Catholic University, said Australian newspapers had printed provocative cartoons depicting Muslims in a negative light in the past without hesitating.But, he said, Australia was now entering a delicate period in its relationship with the Muslim community.Feelings which had been festering for 20 years were bubbling to the surface and cartoons such as those printed in New Zealand and Denmark, and which 20 years ago had been printed in Australia, would create outrage now, he said.Most of the Australian media has not reproduced the images and has been urged by Muslim leaders not to.Read here for more

  • Four people have died in violent protests against cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad, following more than a week of demonstrations. Three people died after police in Afghanistan fired on protesters when a police station came under attack, a government spokesman said. In Somalia, a 14-year-old boy was shot dead and several others were injured after protesters attacked the police. Read here for more

  • A South African court has barred a newspaper from reprinting the cartoons that have provoked protests by Muslim groups in several countries. The Sunday Times says the Jamiat-ul Ulama group first requested the paper not to publish the cartoons, though the newspaper had not decided to do so. When the newspaper refused to undertake not to print the cartoons, the group brought a successful court interdict.Read here for more

  • As the row over the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad has intensified, media executives - in television, print and online - have faced some difficult decisions. The cartoons have led to angry scenes Should they publish the pictures and risk offending Muslim readers and viewers? Or by not showing them, would they be preventing the public from coming to informed opinions about the controversy? Many people have rung or called the BBC complaining that the cartoons are not being shown on television news or the website. Other viewers said the BBC was being spineless, and Peter Arnold commented: "It appears that you are scared of the reaction from Muslims, while you were not concerned about offending Christians when you screened Jerry Springer - The Opera. This is a case of double standards." George Deigton said he had had to visit the British National Party website to see pictures for himself. "It bothers a lot of people that have to pay TV licence fees then have to go to the BNP to get the real news," he wrote. Read here for more

  •   Go to Latest Posting

    Comments 0