Danish caricatures of Islam’s Prophet mean-spirited and offensive

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The caricatures of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad that appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005 has caused uproar all over the Middle East and even shook up parts of the world that have been quiet since World War II.

Twelve caricatures depicting Islam’s holy Prophet Muhammad in unflattering images have since resurfaced all over the world and led to violent demonstrations in Syria, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran.

One picture shows Muhammad in a turban shaped like a bomb, which was reprinted in other European countries like Germany. One newspaper, Die Welt, put it on their front page claiming freedom of press gave them the right to do so.

The consequences of the caricatures have not only been violent protests, but Denmark is also loosing a lot of money as a result of Iran discontinuing all trade with the country.

The editorial board at Jyllands-Posten has been under vast pressure internationally as well as locally. The U.N. has condemned the publishing of the caricatures and former Danish foreign minister Uffe Elleman-Jensen demands that the editor in chief at Jyllands-Posten, Carsten Justes, resigns.

I can understand the animosity Muslims around the world have towards Denmark. In their eyes, Jyllands-Posten took probably the most holy person in their religion and directly associated him with violence. Not only did they draw a picture of the Prophet, which is a crime against Islamic law in itself, but they turned him into a terrorist as well. That’s a double whammy, nice job Justes.

It’s sort of ironic because justice is actually being served now. I’m not talking about the violent protests that have cost too many lives already, but Denmark is suffering financially just like the entire Muslim world did emotionally from the caricatures.

Muslims think so highly of Muhammad that they will not mention his name without saying “peace be upon him” right after.

Freedom of press or not, it’s distasteful to print something like this, especially with all the bad rep Islam already receives everyday from fundamentalist who hide behind the Quran when performing terror acts.

What will be interesting to see is if Jyllands-Posten will publish the caricatures of the Holocaust that are set to run in Iran’s biggest newspaper any day now. An editor at the Danish newspaper said he would definitely run them, but he was given an involuntary vacation after saying so.

I think running caricatures of the Holocaust would be just as bad as the ones of Muhammad, but since Jyllands-Posten hides behind their freedom of press it would make them look even worse if they didn’t run them.

To their defense all you can say is that they had the legal right to put those caricatures in the paper and that they showed what a lot of people probably think of Islam, but it’s still wrong. The violent protests in the Middle East are out of line as well. Portraying Mohammad is not allowed in Islam, but neither is threatening or attacking innocent people. Islam is a peaceful religion and what these violent demonstrations are doing is just feeding into a negative stereotype showing Muslims as hostile people. You can demonstrate and protest all you want, but do it peacefully.

The victims of this whole scenario have not only turned out to be the faithful Muslims around the world, but also the people of Denmark who are being blamed for what one newspaper decided to put in one of their issues. In some instances citizens from all the Scandinavian countries are being mistreated abroad and that has to stop now.

For this to go away Justes has to resign as editor in chief of Jyllands-Posten and Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has to start mending whatever foreign relationships with the Muslim world that is left for his small country to come out of this one intact.

Johan Mengesha can be reached at Johan.mengesha.61@csun.edu.