thanks to Alexandre
Four years ago on September 30, 2005, Â Jyllands-Posten published twelve drawings of Islam’s prophet Muhammed. To demonstrate that prohibition of any depiction of the prophet, as stipulated by sharia law would not trump Denmark’s freedom of the press, twelve cartoonists had their entries published. Continued below…
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Muslims around the world rioted in response. At least one hundred deaths were reported. The Danish embassies in Syria, Lebanon and Iran were torched. European buildings were stormed and the Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, and German flags were desecrated in Gaza City.
Mahmoud al-Zahar of Hamas issued death threats. Critics of the cartoons described them as Islamophobic and racist, arguing they were blasphemous to Muslims and a manifestation of western imperialism. In 2008, slightly after two years of the initial publication, the cartoons were re-published. More riots ensued, complete with shouts of ” death to the cartoonist!”.
James Cohen, vice president of the Canadian desk, IFPS writes thoughtfully and succinctly on the declaration of September 30 as International Free Press Day:
“To further advance the cause of freedom of the press, the International Free Press Society takes the occasion of this first International Free Press Day to salute Kurt Westergaard, and to call, once again, for the repeal all blasphemy and hate speech laws that currently inhibit and restrict vital exchange and debate”.
A fresh round of Muslim protests spread across the world today after Danish newspapers reprinted a cartoon of Mohammed that sparked riots two years ago.
In the several Pakistani cities capital Islamabad, students burnt Danish flags and demanded the ambassador’s expulsion after the Prophet was pictured with a bomb in his turban.
One crowd in Mutan shouted “Death to the Cartoonist” and “Boycott, boycott of European products”.
While in Gaza thousands of supporters of the Islamist group Hamas demanded that an official apology be made to Muslims.
And last night a school in a Copenhagen suburb was set on fire along with cars and rubbish bins by angry Muslims.
Danish newspapers said they reprinted a cartoon showing the Prophet with a bomb in his turban in protest over a plot to murder the cartoonist.
The original drawing published in September 2005 sparked criticism and riots in the Muslim world because it is forbidden to depict the Prophet.
At least 4,000 Hamas supporters took part in the rally on Friday, many waving green Hamas flags and others holding banners condemning the cartoons and urging Muslims to take action against Denmark.
“Muslims must not be silent against these cartoons which are offensive to the great Prophet Mohammed,” one banner read.
Most Muslims consider any depiction of the founder of Islam as offensive.
“We urge Arab and Muslim countries to exert their efforts and to use all pressure tools under their control to stop these organised campaigns that spread hatred of Islam under so-called freedom of expression,” a Hamas statement said.
Masked militants also blew up the library of the YMCA in Gaza early on Friday, destroying the building but causing no injuries.
Security sources said they were investigating whether it was an attack on a specifically Christian symbol, and whether it was related to the reprinting of the Danish cartoon.
In Islamabad students chanting the slogans “We condemn blasphemy of Mohammed” and “Send back Danish ambassador?.
The protesters vowed to organize a march from their International Islamic University to a main mosque in the city next Friday if the government didn’t accept their demand.