Cartoon wars roundup (4)

The Danish cartoons affair continues to rumble on, even if it’s not making as much headline news as it was:

  • Little Green Footballs (LGF) reports that the EU are considering demands from Arab countries to “fight defamation of the religion”, apparently the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the Arab league are demanding that the Mohammed affair is never repeated (i.e. no one publishes such cartoons again).
  • Also cited by LGF, is the (Australian) Daily Telegraph’s report that Danish Muslim clerics are demanding an apology from the Danish government over the cartoons, and call for changes in Danish and European laws:

    We want the laws in Denmark and the European Union to be changed, either to have free speech for everyone including on the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, or to change the law to respect religious figures like Mohammad,” Suweidan said.

  • Back in February, some students in Afghanistan threatened to join Al-Qaeda if further cartoons ‘abusing’ the Prophet Mohammed were published.
  • Harry’s Place notes that publishing the cartoons in order to condemn them does not necessarily protect a newspaper from prosecution in Muslim countries:

    As I’ve said it’s a deviation from the normal rule that a Defendant can’t be guilty of something if he didn’t intend to commit an offence. To give an example one can’t be charged with murder if one accidentally shoots another person while cleaning a gun. The end result may be the same – a dead body, but the difference is in the intention of the person who held the gun. It’s not fair to jail someone for the murder of another where he didn’t intend to kill him.

    That sort of distinction doesn’t seem to exist in Yemen where three newspaper journalists decided to publish the infamous MoToons in their newspapers in order more effectively to condemn them as blasphemous:

    Mr. Assadi, who once worked as a part-time correspondent for The New York Times, is one of three Yemeni journalists facing criminal charges for republishing the cartoons. The other two are Abdulkarim Sabra, the managing editor of the weekly Al Hurriya, and Yehiya al-Abed, a reporter for that paper. The men were jailed for two weeks last month, before being released on bail. The three stand accused of insulting their faith by publishing the images, a crime approaching heresy. In each case, the editors’ stated intention was to condemn the drawings. In the case of The Observer, the images were obscured by a black X.

    The Yemeni journalists aren’t the only ones in the Muslim world in trouble for dabbling with the cartoons:

    Eight other journalists in five countries are facing prosecution for reprinting the cartoons

    Muslim journalists beware: you may consider the images blasphemous, provocative or outrageous, you may deface, cover up or partially obscure the images, but publishing them is still likely to get you into big trouble as this snippet from the Yemeni court demonstrates:

    The lawyers also reminded the court of a story from the days of the prophet in which a woman was executed for insulting him, and he praised her killer, a citation The Observer took as a threat to demand that the editor be sentenced to death. He currently faces a year in jail or a fine.

  • A rally in support of Denmark was organised for the 11th March, in Toronto, Canada. This article reports on how it went, apparently they estimate 100 to 150 people turned out. Note that a march for freedom of speech is planned for the 25th March in Trafalgar square.
  • A rally criticising the cartoons, and praising Mohammed as a peaceful man took place in Houston, Texas on Friday, though fortunately without the violence that has marred other anti-cartoons protests.
  • In Russia, a website that had printed the cartoons received an official warning stating that the website had “committed an action aimed at arousing religious and social hatred and set up a real threat of causing damage to the social security”. The website was told to remove the violation immediately.
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