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Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons row 2005-2006
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Page update: 02.01.10

On the 30th September 2005, Jyllands-Posten (Denmark) published twelve satirical cartoons of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). The twelve cartoons can be viewed at the bottom of this page here. One of the cartoons, by Kurt Westergaard, depicted Muhammad as a suicide bomber. On the 10th January 2006, the cartoons were reprinted in a Norwegian Christian magazine. Kurt Westergaard later told the Glasgow Herald (Scotland) that the cartoons were inspired by "Terrorism - which gets its spiritual ammunition from Islam".

On the 29th January 2006, on the IslamOnline website, the International Union for Muslim Scholars expressed its opinion on the Muhammad cartoons. The "IUMS Statement on Publishing Anti-Prophet Cartoons in Denmark and Norway" can be seen here.

On the 30th January 2006, as it became apparent that a boycott of Danish goods was building across the Arab world, Carsten Juste, Editor-in-Chief of Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, wrote an open letter to Muslims in his newspaper, saying that the cartoons "were not in violation of Danish law but have undoubtedly offended many Muslims, which we would like to apologize for ...."

On the 1st February 2006, newspapers in France, Germany, Italy and Spain reprinted the cartoons. On the 2nd February, the Irish Daily Star in Dublin followed suit and, in the days which followed, the cartoons were published in Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Israel, Norway, Poland, Switzerland and Ukraine. No major British newspaper printed the cartoons. The reasons for this were addressed in The Guardian's leader of the 4th February. Entitled "Muslims and cartoons – Insults and injuries" it can be found here.

An international row followed the publication of the Muhammad cartoons. The diplomatic exchanges articulated sharp differences between Western and Islamic opinion on freedom of expression issues. Some suggested that it was not an issue of freedom of expression at all; it was an issue of what it is to be civilised and what constitutes bad manners in a plural society. Others commented that the row was simply an impromptu dramatisation of the fuzzy overlap between secular humour and religious hatred.

On the 2nd February 2006, three of the twelve Muhammad cartoons were published in Jordan in the weekly newspaper, Shihan. An editorial in the same issue was entitled: "Muslims of the world, be reasonable." The editor, Jihad al-Momani, asked his readers: "Who offends Islam more? A foreigner who endeavours to draw the prophet as described by his followers in the world, or a Muslim armed with an explosive belt who commits suicide in a wedding party in Amman? What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras?"

On the 3rd February, Jihad al-Momani was fired from his post at the newspaper. On the 7th February, he was arrested and charged for the second time in three days. He and another editor faced criminal charges that included blasphemy and incitement to violence. The second arrest came as a result of a lawsuit brought by Jordan's state-run press and publications department.

On the 3rd February, at Friday prayers around the world, words were said by the imams. On the 3rd and 4th February, in London (UK) there were protest marches to the Danish embassy in Knightsbridge. On the first of these days, the Metropolitan Police provided a motorcycle and helicopter escort for the leading al-Ghurabaa protesters. Some well-researched investigative journalism by The Guardian newspaper (London) showed that al-Ghurabaa was, essentially, the same organisation as al-Muhajiroun, an extreme Islamist group banned in Britain.

A Muslim cleric influential in London, but now excluded from the UK and said to be resident in Lebanon, Omar Bakri Mohammed, issued a religious fatwa from his hideout stating that the first person to be murdered should be the editor of the Danish paper which first published the cartoons. Leader of al-Muhajiroun, he was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on the 6th February: "In Islam, God said, and the messenger Muhammad said, whoever insults a prophet, he must be punished and executed."

The Guardian article entitled "Reborn extremist sect had key role in London protest" was written by Ian Cobain, Nick Fielding and Rosie Cowan, and included work by an undercover reporter called Ali Hussain. It was published on the 11th February 2006 and can be found here.

And the al-Ghurabaa website can be viewed here.

At the London demonstrations, placards were photographed which read: "Leave Muslims Alone"; "Freedom is Hypocrisy"; "Freedom go to Hell"; "Liberalism go to Hell"; "Freedom of expression go to Hell"; "Free Speech Equals Cheap Insults"; "Rudeness, Slander, Disrespect – Is This Freedom of Speech?"; "Massacre those who insult Islam"; "Butcher those who insult Islam"; “Butcher those who mock Islam”; "Slay those who insult Islam"; "Behead those who insult Islam"; "Kill those who insult Islam"; “Exterminate those who slander Islam”; "Denmark – Go to Hell"; "UK you will pay – 7/7 is on its way"; "Europe, you will pay - Fantastic 4 are on their way"; "Europe you will pay – Bin Laden is on his way"; “Europe you will pay - demolition is on its way”; “Europe you will pay - extermination is on its way”; "Europe you'll come crawling when Mujahideen come roaring".

Other banners and placards praised the "Magnificent 19" who flew the planes into the World Trade Centre (New York, USA) and into the Pentagon (Washington, USA) on the 11th September 2001 ("9/11").

It was reported at the time that the only arrests made by the Metropolitan Police during the London protests were of two men found carrying placards showing cartoons of Muhammad. Police chiefs offered various excuses for this, some of them plausible.

One of the much-photographed protesters at the London demonstrations was Omar Khayam (22) who strutted up and down provocatively in front of police vehicles attired as a fancy-dress suicide-bomber. It transpired that he was a pillar of the Muslim community in Bedford (UK) and a convicted drug dealer. Two days after the demonstrations, on the instructions of the Home Office, Khayam was arrested by the police and returned to prison. In behaving as he did in London, he had breached one of the conditions of his parole. The imam at his local mosque in Bedford did not seek to claim the young Muslim as a martyr for Muhammad or a prisoner of faith. Speaking on BBC Radio with an authentically-nuanced, estuary-chav accent, Asif Nadim said: "Omar Khayam is not a terrorist; he is an idiot."

On the 3rd February 2006, in Copenhagen, the Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussens, spoke to the Heads of seventy Diplomatic Missions accredited to Denmark. Many of these were from Arab countries. The full text of his address can be found here. Rasmussens' eirenic approach to the ambassadors on this occasion sat rather uneasily with a more robust comment he had placed on the record previously: “Freedom of speech should be used to provoke and criticise political or religious authoritarians.”

On the 4th February, the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus (Syria) were ransacked and burned out, actions it was said which the all-pervasive Syrian security services could easily have prevented. On the 5th February, the ground and lower floors beneath the Danish consulate in Beirut (Lebanon) were burned out. Government sources in Lebanon suggested that Syrian elements had fomented the unrest. Hundreds of thousands also protested in other cities around the world, including Chaniot, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar in Pakistan, Baghdad (Iraq), Khartoum (Sudan), Jakarta (Indonesia), and in various centres of population throughout Palestine. In the following days there were violent demonstrations throughout Afghanistan, including one outside the American military base at Bagram, in Benghazi (Libya) and in Katsina and Maiduguri (Nigeria).

After an initial diplomatic delay, non-Danish Western cartoonists began to respond to the Muhammad cartoon row. In Britain, Steve Bell (here and here) and Martin Rowson led the way in the Guardian newspaper. Elsewhere, other notable new cartoons came from Filibuster, Buck, Daryl Cagle, Cox and Forkum, Delize (here and here), D.T.Devareaux, Plantu, and Stagie.

On Sunday the 5th February, a Roman Catholic priest, Father Andrea Santoro (60) was shot in the back as he knelt to pray in his church in Trabazon (Turkey). His killer was a sixteen-year-old boy who told police that he was angered by the Muhammad cartoons. Shortly afterwards, the Pope announced that he would be paying a three-day visit to Turkey in November 2006.

In the debate which followed the publication of the Muhammad cartoons, several Muslim spokesmen made the point that many educated Muslims could not understand the West's manipulation of the principle of free speech to suit their own sectarian interests. On the one hand, within the thought-world of Western freedom of expression, it was legally acceptable to publish cartoons which poked fun at Muhammad and Muslims, and to be anti-Islamic, but on the other hand it was legally unacceptable to voice or publish material which was anti-Semitic, which denied the Holocaust, or which poked fun at Jews and Judaism. This was not freedom of expression; it was specious parochialism.

On the 5th February, The Jerusalem Post (Israel) published the Muhammad cartoons. An accompanying editorial was headed "The Prophet's Honor". In this the protests that the Danish cartoons were causing in the Muslim world were compared with the behaviour of Arab cartoonists who "routinely demonise Jews as global conspirators, corrupters of society and blood-suckers. Just this Saturday (4th February), Britain's Muslim Weekly published a caricature of a hooked-nose Jew - Ehud Olmert. Arab political 'humour' knows no bounds. A cartoon in Qatar's Al-Watan depicted prime minister Ariel Sharon drinking from a goblet of Palestinian children's blood. Another, in the Egyptian Al-Ahram al-Arabi, showed him jackbooted, bloody-handed and crushing peace."

The Jerusalem Post editorial continued: "There are those who would argue that the controversy does not reflect a clash of civilisations. Yet it is precisely this persistent refusal to acknowledge the obvious that weakens the cause of tolerance and liberty. Must 'understanding' invariably result in the abdication of western values? If anyone wants to appreciate why the west views with such suspicion the weapons programmes of Muslim states such as Iran, they need look no further than the intolerance Muslim regimes exhibit to these cartoons, and what this portends."

The following day, the 6th February 2006, reported that Hamshahri, Iran's largest selling newspaper, was launching a cartoon competition of its own. "It will be an international cartoon contest about the Holocaust," the graphics editor, Farid Mortazavi, said. The stated plan was to turn the tables on the assertion that newspapers can print offensive material in the name of freedom of expression. "The Western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let's see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons."

Hamshahri is a right-wing publication owned by the Tehran city council. Last year it published the comments of the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, when he dismissed the systematic slaughter by the Nazis of mainland Europe's Jews as a "myth" used to justify the creation of Israel. This view was privately applauded in many Western liberal quarters. The growing view there is that the biggest avoidable political mistake made in the twentieth century was the establishment of an official Jewish nation based on Jerusalem. Iran's current government regime is supportive of Holocaust revisionist historians, who argue that the systematic slaughter by the Nazis of mainland Europe's Jews during the Second World War (1939-1945) has been either invented or exaggerated.

On the 7th February, Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten (Denmark) said: "My newspaper is trying to establish contact with the Iranian newspaper, and we would run the (Holocaust) cartoons the same day as they publish them." Shortly after announcing this, Flemming Rose had a public disagreement with his editor-in-chief, Carsten Juste, and was sent on indefinite leave. It was Flemming Rose who originally commissioned the twelve Muhammad cartoons in September 2005. Tage Clausen, a spokesman for Jyllands-Posten, said: "The editorial management and Flemming Rose have agreed that he needed a break from work until further notice."

Some of the alternative news websites suggested that Flemming Rose was a Mossad agent-provocateur working to a Zionist agenda and that, belatedly, Carsten Juste had become aware of this. It was manifestly beneficial to sectarian Judaism that Muslims should be presented in a bad light. The Mohammad cartoon row was fomented by Jewish interests to achieve this. An article on this theme appeared on the La Haine website here, and was repeated on Conspiracy Planet here.

Jewish racial unpopularity has been a repeating historical datum with deep spiritual roots. Zionism is perceived by many in the Middle East as an affront to Islam. In the first half of the twentieth century, Alice Bailey explained the esoteric provenance of the Jewish problem. Her source was well-placed and reliable. Attempts were made to label her as anti-Semitic. The background of Bailey’s views are discussed here. And Yonassan Gershom offers a refutation of Bailey’s views here.

On the 8th February, Muslim hackers broke into 600 Danish websites and posted death threats. In France, the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo announced in advance that it was going to reprint the twelve Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons. Five Muslim groups went to law to prevent the publication on the ground that reprinting the cartoons would further incite religious and racial hatred. They failed. The French court refused to examine the issues in the case and threw out the suit on technical grounds, declining to grant an injunction. It said that the public prosecutor's office, which is always represented in French courts, was not properly notified of the case.

When Charlie Hebdo hit the news stands on the 9th February, it bore a new Muhammad cartoon of its own blazoned across the front page. Under the headline "Muhammad stressed out by the fundamentalists," it depicted a depressed Muhammad with his head in his hands saying: "It's hard to be loved by fools."

Most of the initial print run of 160,000 copies was sold out by mid-morning, and the magazine embarked on a second edition. Inside was a double-page spread of cartoons satirising political correctness. All religions were depicted in caricature above a caption which asked: "How can you live normally if you have to worry about offending everyone from Sikhs to Scientologists, Jews to Jehovah's Witnesses?"

Charlie Hebdo singled out for special attention the original Kurt Westergaard cartoon which depicted Muhammad as a suicide bomber. This cartoon can be seen here and here. "This is not a comment on Islam," said the Charlie Hebdo editorial, "but on the interpretation of Islam and the Prophet by Muslim terrorists. Not to publish the drawings would be interpreted by religious fanatics as an encouraging victory."

An unnamed cartoonist from Charlie Hebdo spoke to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "We don't mean to be offensive and we show other respect to the Muslim believers, but we also believe very much that the freedom of speech has to be enforced by publishing these cartoons."

The executive director of Charlie Hebdo, Philippe Val, spoke on AP Television News: "We published those caricatures first for solidarity with the cartoonists from Denmark and with the director of the publication of France-Soir, who has shamefully been sacked since the publication. Exercising one's rights to freedom of caricatures and freedom of the press is not a provocation."

On the 8th February, the Danish government, annoyed by the behaviour of local Danish imams in using the Muhammad cartoons to stir up anti-Danish sentiments in the Middle East, announced that it would exclude the imams from talks on ethnic minority integration.

A number of Danish politicians and the media accused some Danish Muslim leaders of fomenting unrest during a tour they had made to the Middle East in December 2005 and January 2006. Speaking to the Berlingske Tidende newspaper (Copenhagen), Danish Immigration Minister Rikke Hvilshoj said: "I think we have a clear picture today that it's not the imams we should be placing our trust in if we want integration in Denmark to work."

Danish imam, Abu Laban, who led the group of Muslim leaders to the Middle East and has been an interlocutor of the government in integration talks, told Reuters Television that he regretted if his criticisms had contributed to the violence: "If the violence is against the issue of intellectual communication and engagement, then yes I regret it."

Abu Laban took a dossier containing the original twelve Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons with him to the Middle East. But the dossier was sexed-up with three more extreme cartoons which Jyllands-Posten had not published. One of these portrayed Muhammad looking like a pig and another depicted Muhammad having sex with a dog.

Denmark has a population of 5.4 million people of which 3.3% (180,000) are Muslims. Some of these are reported to have said that they have felt growing discrimination since the centre-right government of Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussens began clamping down on immigration a few years ago. Responding to this, Rasmussens said that the aim of the measures - such as limits on the entry of foreigners married to Danes and requirements that they abide by Danish social norms - is to improve integration.

There is no mosque in the whole of Copenhagen, although there are about 200 mosques elsewhere in the country, mostly converted warehouses, factories and apartment buildings. There is not a single Muslim cemetery in Denmark, but some general-purpose cemeteries have special Muslim sections.

On the 11th February, Danish police reported that about 25 Muslim graves were vandalised at a cemetery in Esberg. Several headstones had been smashed into pieces. Christian graves were left untouched.

Rasmussens' minority government relies on the support of the far-right, anti-immigrant Danish People's Party. Its leader, Pia Kjaersgaard called for the deportation of any imam who is not a Danish citizen and has whipped up protests. "The seeds of weeds have come to Denmark - Islamists and liars - who have fuelled the lethal fire through their tour of the Middle East. We will deal with them," she said. The DPP has described Islam as a terrorist religion and an inferior civilisation.

On the 12th February, Jyllands-Posten published the results of an opinion poll which was conducted during the period 6th – 8th February. It showed a surge in support for the Danish People's Party. Their following in the country had risen by 3.6% to 17.8% in a month. The DPP reported that during the week 6th – 10th February 2006, it had received seventeen times as many applications for membership as normal.

One of the more puzzling aspects of the Muhammad cartoon row concerned the timing. How did a bunch of not particularly funny or well-drawn cartoons, published on the 30th September 2005 in a Danish newspaper, produce such pandemic anger across Europe, the Middle East and the wider Muslim world four months later in February 2006?

The BBC’s World Affairs Editor, John Simpson, identified the key player. It was Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Foreign Minister of Egypt. As early as November 2005, he was protesting about the cartoons and calling them an insult. “Egypt,” he said, “has confronted this disgraceful act and will continue to confront such insults.”

Simpson suggested that perhaps Ahmed Aboul Gheit’s anti-cartoon enthusiasm was a convenient way for the Egyptian government to demonstrate some Islamic credentials while not attacking any of the countries which really mattered to Egypt. Gheit raised the issue at a series of international meetings and slowly, with the assistance of the peripatetic Danish imams, the news of blasphemy was filtered out onto the streets.

Rabble-rousing aside, the arguments were about where freedom of speech ends and gratuitous insults begin. Militant secularists clashed on air and in print with militant Islamists, each talking past each other to the wallpaper. And as in the Satanic Verses row back in 1989, the wallpaper had ears to hear.

The full text of John Simpson’s piece, dated the 6th February 2006, can be found here.

On the 17th February 2006, after Friday prayers in Peshawar (Pakistan), a Muslim cleric called Muhammad Yousef Qureshi offered a £600,000 reward plus a Toyota car to anyone who killed the Danish Muhammad cartoonists. “This is a unanimous decision by all imams of Islam that whoever insults the prophet deserves to be killed and whoever will take this insulting man to his end, will get the prize,” Qureshi said. “This killing will enhance respect for Islam and for Muslims. Next time nobody will dare to commit blasphemy against our prophet.”

Most of the bounty money offered for the assassination was put up by the city jewellers’ association. “We can pay it in 24 hours after confirmation they have been killed,” said the association’s president, Haji Israr Khan. “We are confident someone will find them. They will not be able to hide like Salman Rushdie. It is a small price to pay for protecting the prophet’s honour.”

The Muslim cleric, Muhammad Yousef Qureshi, runs the Jamia Ashrafia religious school in Peshawar. After Friday prayers, his supporters burned an effigy of the Danish prime minister. The Guardian newspaper (London) approached the Pakistan Human Rights Commission and spoke to Tariq Ahmed Khan about the cleric. “I have seen this mullah (Qureshi) many times at receptions at the American consulate,” he said. “He just wants to become famous like Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran.”

On the 17th February 2006, in Benghazi (Libya), at least 10 people were killed and several wounded as police tried to stop an angry protest of hundreds of Muslim demonstrators outside the Italian consulate. The crowd splintered off from a larger, peaceful demonstration in the centre of the city. The Italian foreign ministry said protesters broke into the grounds and set the first floor of the building on fire. The Libyan government blamed what it called a small irresponsible group that it said did not reflect the Libyan spirit.

On the 18th February, the Libyan Interior Minister Nasr al-Mabrouk was suspended from his post and referred for investigation into police actions during the rioting. "We condemn the excessive use of force and the inappropriate way that went beyond the limits of carrying out the duties of the police," said a statement from the Libyan parliamentary secretariat.

The Libyan trouble had been sparked off by Roberto Calderoli, the Italian reform minister. He had been seen wearing a T-shirt decorated with Western media cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad. On the 18th February, after Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had urged him to step down, Roberto Calderoli, of the anti-immigration Northern League party, said he had decided to hand in his resignation "out of a sense of responsibility and certainly not because it was demanded by the government and the opposition."

On the 18th February 2006, in Maiduguri (Nigeria) sixteen people were killed in anti-cartoon protests by Muslims. Most of the dead were from Maiduguri's minority Christian community. Eleven churches were set on fire and Christian shops and businesses were targeted. Crowds of Muslim protesters carrying machetes, sticks and iron rods rampaged through the city centre. One group threw a tyre around one man, poured gas on him and set him ablaze. Soldiers were deployed and a curfew was imposed. Around 115 people were arrested in Maiduguri and 105 in Katsina.

On the 18th February, a government minister in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh offered a £6m reward to anyone who beheaded one of the Danish cartoonists. Yaqoob Qureshi, minister of minority welfare, said the killer would also receive his weight in gold. He made the offer during a rally in his constituency in Meerut, northeast of Delhi. Protesters then burnt an effigy of a cartoonist and some Danish flags.

On the 21st February it became apparent that The British National Party (UK) would be using Kurt Westergaard’s Muhammad cartoon in its campaign material for the English local authority elections in May 2006. The BNP, an extreme right-wing party, hoped to field 1,000 candidates. One of its planned leaflets asked voters: "Are you concerned about the growth of Islam in Britain? Make Thursday the 4th May Referendum Day….we owe it to our children to defend our Christian culture."

On the 22nd February the British National Party confirmed that half a million leaflets had gone out to 14 local groups across the country. In these leaflets, Kurt Westergaard’s Muhammad cartoon was juxtaposed with a photograph of Muslim demonstrators carrying banners urging violence and death against publishers of the cartoon. These pictures were not intended to cause offence, a BNP spokesman explained, they were to illustrate the point that Islamic and Western values do not mix. “What the leaflet says is which do you find most offensive? The cartoon? Or Muslim demonstrators calling for terrorist attacks on Europe?”

Nick Griffin, the BNP’s chairman, urged members to print off the leaflets from the BNP website and “pin them to church notice boards” and “leave them on trains and buses”. The leaflets, he explained were a reaction to a decision by British newspapers not to publish the images out of respect for the Muslim faith.

The BNP, which currently has 19 councillors, is expected to concentrate its election efforts in parts of the country where it has performed strongly in the past, such as localities within Lancashire, Yorkshire, the West Midlands and East London. The British National Party’s share of the vote rose from 1% in 1992 to 4.2% in 2005. It describes itself as: “The foremost patriotic political party in Great Britain.” The BNP’s website can be found here.

On the 22nd February in Onitsha (Nigeria) more than 20 people died in a second day of violence connected with the Muhammad cartoons. Groups of armed youths rampaged through the city attacking Muslims, in retaliation for the deaths of Christians in riots in Maiduguri, Katsina and Bauchi and other northern towns on the 18th February and 21st February. Eyewitnesses spoke of streets "littered with bodies" as thousands of Muslims fled from the city.

Bands of Christian men belonging to the Ibo tribe wielded clubs and machetes and attacked any Muslims they could find belonging to the Hausa tribe. Cars driving into the city were stopped by angry crowds demanding to know if there were any Hausa on board. Those who were identified were dragged out and taken away. The Reuters news agency said that some of the victims had been burnt and some had had their stomachs cut open. Many Hausas still in the city sought shelter inside police and army facilities. The north of Nigeria is mainly Muslim and the south is predominantly Christian.

By the 23rd February 2006, at least 77 people around the world had been killed during Muhammad cartoon-related violence. These included 49 in Nigeria, 12 in Afghanistan, 11 in Libya and 5 in Pakistan.

On the 9th November 2006, one of the original London Muslim protesters was found guilty, in court, of stirring up racial hatred. His name was Mizanur Rahman. He had carried placards saying "Behead those who insult Islam" and "Annihilate those who insult Islam."

Using a megaphone he had addressed the London protest on the 3rd February 2006, saying of British and American troops: "We want to see them coming home in body bags. We want to see their blood running in the streets of Baghdad." Rahman, 23, also shouted out: "Oh Allah, we want to see another 9/11 in Iraq, another 9/11 in Denmark, another 9/11 in Spain, in France, and all over Europe."

At his London trial, Mizanur Rahman said that he felt "almost ashamed .... I didn't think anyone would take me seriously." He also explained that he had no intention of anyone carrying out the actions he had called for.

British press reports of Mizanur Rahman's trial can be found here, and here, and here, and here and here.

The day after Rahman had been convicted in London, two hundred miles north at Leeds Crown court, Nick Griffin, 47, the Chairman of the British National Party, was acquitted of race hate charges. The jury's decision was unanimous. The case had no direct link with the Muhammad cartoons, but Griffin had certain advantages over Rahman. He was white, he was a Cambridge-educated lawyer and he was not a Muslim. Also Griffin, unlike Rahman, had not said anything explicit which might reasonably be construed as soliciting murder.

During the trial, the jury heard extracts from a speech Griffin had made in the Reservoir Tavern in Keighley (Yorkshire, UK) on the 19th January 2004, in which he described Islam as a "wicked, vicious faith" and said Muslims were turning Britain into a "multi-racial hell hole".

In previous years, Nick Griffin had made other robust comments which were not considered by the court on this occasion. On the subject of race he is reported as having said: "Without the White race, nothing matters. (Other right-wing parties) believe that the answer to the race question is integration and a futile attempt to create 'Black Britons', while we affirm that non-Whites have no place here at all and will not rest until every last one has left our land.” And on the subject of the holocaust he is reported as having commented: "The ‘extermination’ tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lies and latter witch-hysteria.”

British press reports of Nick Griffin's trial can be found here, and here and here and here.


Kurt Westergaard’s Muhammad cartoon published in Jyllands-Posten (Denmark) in September 2005 (from the Atlas Shrugs Blog).

Another copy of Kurt Westergaard’s Muhammad cartoon published in Jyllands-Posten (Denmark) in September 2005 (from

The original Jyllands-Posten page with all twelve of the cartoons in situ can be viewed here, under the heading "Muhammeds ansigt".

Michelle Malkin has all twelve Muhammad cartoons on her page.

The Brussels Journal has all twelve Muhammad cartoons at the foot of its page here.

Comments about the Muhammad cartoons by the Cartoonists Rights Network International (Virginia, USA) made on 20.01.06.

Comments about the Muhammad cartoons by Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers (from 24.02.06).

Comments about the Muhammad cartoons by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh – Saudi Arabia’s top Muslim cleric (from 26.02.06).

BBC (London) 03.02.06 – "Those cartoons – right or wrong?" by Peter Barron, BBC Newsnight editor.

BBC (London) 03.02.06 – "BBC's dilemma over cartoons" by a senior BBC NewsWatch staffer.

BBC (London) 03.02.06 – Official editorial policy – "Finding the right balance" by David Jordan (BBC Editorial Policy Controller).

BBC (London) 04.02.06 – "Cartoon row highlights deep divisions" by Magdi Abdelhadi (BBC Arab Affairs analyst). offered advice to its Muslim visitors about their conduct in connection with the Muhammad cartoons. On a page headed "Ask the Scholar" here, the matter is addressed.

And on the 5th February 2006, the IslamOnline website held a live dialogue between the Danish journalist, Adam Hannestad, and some of its visitors. A transcript of that dialogue under the heading: "Freedom of Expression : Diverse Danish Media Attitudes?" can be found here.

In a poll of 56,085 people visiting the IslamOnline website since the 31st January 2006, 71.13% said that there "should be no limit to free speech when it comes to the sacred in religions," and 28.87% indicated that there should be a limit to free speech in such circumstances. These figures were up-to-date at 7.00pm on Sunday 5th February 2006.

The Free Muslim – a humanitarian, politically independent, Islamic assembly advocating non-violence, free speech and toleration of the opinions of others.

Free Muslims Coalition – Muslims against terrorism and extremism. has a compilation of published images of Muhammad here.

Zombietime has also published this compilation of Muhammad images at various mirror sites around the world, including at the thirteen listed below:

In Denmark here
and here,

In Finland here,

In the Netherlands here and here,

In Norway here and here,

In Russia here,

And in the USA here, and here, and here, and here, and here.

The original illustrated children’s book which started the Muhammad cartoons row was called “The Koran and the life of the prophet Mohammed” by Kaare Bluitgen.
Some of the Muhammad illustrations it contained can be viewed here.


Fundamentalism is a closed room.

The door is shut and the curtains are pulled.

In the corner is a single book.

The book is out of date.


We can defuse this tension between competing conceptions of the sacred
Karen Armstrong argues that the crisis occasioned by the Danish Muhammad cartoons has become a microcosm of the wider conflict between Islam and the western world - The Guardian newspaper (London) 11.03.06.



Pope terror talks

Creative subversion

The American Problem

Jolly frightening, this terror business

Index of blog contents

Spirituality websites worth watching


Anonymous said...

Went through those images and didn't see the one of him screwing a goat.

person said...

They shouldn't have published pictures like that.

In Islam we're not even allowed to draw pictures of the Prophet peace be upon him.

We dont draw pictures of Jesus or Moses, we respect all the prophets.

We love our prophet peace be upon him.

Anonymous said...

The New Pearl Harbour - Act 2

On Page 25 of his book titled 'The Grand Chessboard' Zbigniew Brzezinski states, "The public supported America's engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour."

The issue here is that the events of December 7, 1941 were undoubtedly a shock to the American Public .... but as we now know, Franklin D. Roosevelt was desperate to bring America into the Second World War and deliberately set about baiting the Japanese into attacking the Pacific fleet, anchored in Pearl Harbour.

Page 51 of the document published by PNAC in September 2000 titled, Rebuilding America's Defenses' states, "Further the process of transformation (America establishing global military dominance), even if it brings about revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbour"

The Pathocracy in Washington has already used this script to brilliant effect with the execution of wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. The legacy of 9/11 is in plain site. Fortunately, it is becoming increasingly apparent to the American public that the war in Iraq is not going as well as G.W. would have them believe. Consequently, the NeoCon Cabal is well aware that the American public are unlikely to support an attack on Iran ........despite all the column/inches being devoted to the Iranian quest for atomic weapons. We also know that the cry of WMD is a cover for the real issue of the Iranian Oil Bourse, which is scheduled to start trading in Euros on March 21st.

The Cabal are also alert to the fact that the majority Europeans are not supporters of the war in Iraq and definitely do not support the US in its aggressive posturing towards Iran. So how to change this?

Setting off a limited nuclear device in the US and blaming it on the Iranians might stir up sufficient support in the US, for Bush to then order the troops into Iran but as he himself has said, " .......fool me once .....!"
So even if the American people do get fooled again, the main problem with this scenario is that it doesn't engage the Europeans.

So how about this for an alternative? Let's run some cartoons in the European press which will really piss-off the Muslims; let's make sure that that the cartoons are sent to every Muslim leader and every Muslim fundamentalist and make sure that all 1.3 billion Muslims knows that these cartoons emanated from DENMARK. The US (& the UK), can distance themselves from the stupidity of the DANES. Then with whipped up fervour spreading around the Muslim world, a few attacks on various Danish Embassies, then the Cabal can sneak in a 'Big One' at a Danish Embassy in say France or Germany or even the UK (nailing NATO and the EU in one fell swoop), blame it on the Iranians and ....... Bob's yer uncle ........... World War fucking III!!

Alternatively, everyone takes a pace back and realises that someone is taking the piss ......... just like Saddam & Khomeni paused for breath & stopped bombing the crap out of each other in 1988 ......... once they realised that the US was feeding them both with sufficient weaponry to annihilate each other!

This is a time for true leadership. The European Media along with National & EU leaders need to be offering unequivocal apologies for any offence that has been caused and acknowledging that such crass insensitivity is both unfortunate and regrettable.

Meanwhile, the leaders of Muslim Nations & Muslim communities within non-Muslim nations are being tested to the extreme. The temptation will be to get caught up in the fervour and antagonism of the moment ..... but perhaps now is the time to take a look and see who is manipulating whom!

The events of Pearl Harbour & 9/11 have presented the global community with an opportunity to see through the Machiavellian manipulations of the Cabal. See through it and start to play them at their own game............ or fall for it; Hook, Line & Sinker!

Anonymous said...

Insulting or offensive cartoons of a leading religious cornerstone such as Muhammad or Jesus is the most unwise thing to do. That is why the state has been separated from the church; to avoid placing a heavy burden on either as a result of extremities of the other. Therefore freedom of expression should be used with caution when it is applied to the religious realm. Let us be sensitive to our brothers' religions.

Committed Christian

Anonymous said...

Thanks for providing this opportunity to stay objective in a world gone crazy. Again.

Anonymous said...

Wa salami

You forgot something VERY important. There are 3 other cartoons drawn by the danish islamic delegation to arabic people. Come and see the article in a french magazine that confirmed what i knew since one week and come and see the 3 other cartoons drawn by MUSLIM people to manipulate people !


Wa salami and sorry for my pathetic english

Anonymous said...

As allways the interests of the Elites, the masonrys, those few with a little bit more of knowledge of the real situation come before those of millions, it's all about the money, oil, and comes down to the ultimate global domination, and everyone knows it... so why can't we stop them??? it's about time we stop fighting each other and start fighting those bastards...
I'ts funny how ppl say that i'm crazy when i tell them about the conspiracy theory being true... how about know... and more i belive that fighting because of each others religion is idiot. We can track all the prophets back to God's first creation, so why are we fighting? we just have different ways of understanding an expressing it, in the end it all comes down to respect for everyones beliefs.

i'm not a catholic or muslim, i don't believe in churches just believe in God, if you start seing things like me, ou'll find that it's more simple than most ppl would notice.

Anonymous said...

Very nice blog.

Anonymous said...

"Muslim Süß", human dignity and the limits of liberty

A lot has been said lately about the Muhammad-Cartoons, originally published in the Danish daily Jyllands Posten, that created regime-casted outrages throughout the dicatorships in the Middle East

Anonymous said...

Excuses from Italy.
Calderoli is a IDIOT.
Italian people are friends for Islam.

Vik from Milan

imbecilli provocazioni di Calderoli.

Chi fomenta l'odio religioso in una società che si definisce civile
viene messo in disparte, emarginato.

Noi invece li facciamo ministri.

E ora ne paghiamo le conseguenze,
perchè temo che gli episodi di ieri siano solo l'inizio,
l'immagine dell'Italia già duramente provata
dalla nostra sudditanza e criminale complicità
agli Stati Uniti,
in quelle guerre tramite cui pretendiamo di esportare
i nostri sublimi valori democratici,
(gli stessi da cui che poi partoriscono
illuminate menti come quella del ministro della lega)
sarà ulteriormente danneggiata da questa inopinata iniezione di intolleranza.

Non voglio pensare di trovarmi dinnanzi
durante i mie viaggi
qualche folle estremista religioso che mi sventaglia un coltello dinnanzi
domandandomi se la penso come il Calderoli...

Propongo di esportare Lui al posto della nostra democrazia,
potremmo spedirlo in Pakistan,
già li vedo,
lui e Bin Laden che si alternano sul cucuzzolo della montagna
a salmodiare odio razziale e religioso.

Spediamocelo presto,
senza timore che se lo mangino vivo,
si sa,
da quella parti la carne di maiale
non si sfiora neanche con un dito.

Via a calci nel sedere anche
Clemente Mimun,
questo ebreo di destra,
estrema destra filosionista,
vada a condurre nei salotti di casa sua
queste messe in scena di una violenza verbale e intolleranza inaudite.
Non in mondovisione nella nostra rete statale,
lui è responsabile quanto Calderoli.

Think! said...

Calderoli is a hero! And Islamic fanatics are idiots and here is why:

There's no rule against portraying Mohammed.

It turns out, though, that all of us may have been led down the primrose path insofar as we accepted the claim that there is an absolute doctrinal ukase against making visual representations of the prophet. As others have pointed out, of course, there is a vast body of images of Mohammed going back hundreds of years. The fact that people -- even the faithful and respectful -- do something, however, doesn't mean it's religiously authorized. The existence of such images, therefore, while interesting, is not conclusive.

In a "Wall Sreet Journal Opinion article" however, Amir Taheri explains that there is, in fact, no doctrinal prohibition against images of Mohammed.

>The Muslim Brotherhood's position, put by one of its younger militants, Tariq Ramadan--who is, strangely enough, also an adviser to the British home secretary--can be summed up as follows: It is against Islamic principles to represent by imagery not only Muhammad but all the prophets of Islam; and the Muslim world is not used to laughing at religion.

Both claims, however, are false. There is no Quranic injunction against images, whether of Muhammad or anyone else. When it spread into the Levant(part of middeleast), Islam came into contact with a version of Christianity that was militantly iconoclastic. As a result some Muslim theologians, at a time when Islam still had an organic theology, issued "fatwas" against any depiction of the Godhead. That position was further buttressed by the fact that Islam acknowledges the Jewish Ten Commandments--which include a ban on depicting God--as part of its heritage. The issue has never been decided one way or another, and the claim that a ban on images is "an absolute principle of Islam" is purely political. Islam has only one absolute principle: the Oneness of God. Trying to invent other absolutes is, from the point of view of Islamic theology, nothing but sherk, i.e., the bestowal on the Many of the attributes of the One.The claim that the ban on depicting Muhammad and other prophets is an absolute principle of Islam is also refuted by history. Many portraits of Muhammad have been drawn by Muslim artists, often commissioned by Muslim rulers.
Taheri then proceeds to list numerous historic images of Mohammed (and the Wall Street Journal bravely includes in the article a beautiful Persian-looking print of Mohammed). Tahiri also takes apart the "never laugh at the Prophet" meme on the Arab Street:
Now to the second claim, that the Muslim world is not used to laughing at religion. That is true if we restrict the Muslim world to the Brotherhood and its siblings in the Salafist movement, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda. But these are all political organizations masquerading as religious ones. They are not the sole representatives of Islam, just as the Nazi Party was not the sole representative of German culture. Their attempt at portraying Islam as a sullen culture that lacks a sense of humor is part of the same discourse that claims "suicide martyrdom" as the highest goal for all true believers.The truth is that Islam has always had a sense of humor and has never called for chopping heads as the answer to satirists. Muhammad himself pardoned a famous Meccan poet who had lampooned him for more than a decade. Both Arabic and Persian literature, the two great literatures of Islam, are full of examples of "laughing at religion," at times to the point of irreverence. Again, offering an exhaustive list is not possible. But those familiar with Islam's literature know of Ubaid Zakani's "Mush va Gorbeh" (Mouse and Cat), a match for Rabelais when it comes to mocking religion. Sa'adi's eloquent soliloquy on behalf of Satan mocks the "dry pious ones." And Attar portrays a hypocritical sheikh who, having fallen into the Tigris, is choked by his enormous beard. Islamic satire reaches its heights in Rumi, where a shepherd conspires with God to pull a stunt on Moses; all three end up having a good laugh.
So, not only is this riot a manufactured phenomenom aimed at terrifying the West, it's also based upon some fundamental lies about the nature of the Islamic religion -- lies that are easy to promulgate because our MSM lives from one press release to the next, without any knowledge nor any wish to acquire knowledge as to the subjects on which it reports.<

Anonymous said...

I saw a picture of mohummad fucking a highly aroused sheep (labled "Muslims") while a giant pig (labled "Allah") is giving him anal sex. Shame I cant find it again or else I'd deliberatly send it to Mecca with a message saying "You say 'freedom go to hell'? or 'behad those who say islam is violent', which means your cult IS here is another taster for you!"

And the return address is the same as the sending address, and I'd use a computer so they cant tell who wrote it.

Those psychos who love a hanging and killing children (they must be vampires for murdering kids) are ther cancer, not the rest of the world!

I'm posting as Annonymous, but my real name is Johnny Castle.

Anonymous said...

I m a muslim girl but i never think to hurt a chirstan or hindu or other religious of world by drawing there god picture nd this much badly someone can do i cant believe they r nt having a fear in there heart nd drawing this animal as Our PROPHET nd to ourHOLY QURAN ALLAH WILL punish u Insha AlLAH real muslim never accept to hurt any person bcz there life is to love people care abt them obey Allah nd our Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) respect people from where ever religious they r from