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An explanation from Denmark

Reader comment on item: Something Rotten in Denmark?
in response to reader comment: west must stand firm against muslim unreasonableness

Submitted by Steen (Denmark), Feb 3, 2006 at 22:26

You addressed "the people of denmark" in your posting, so I guess I have to respond, as I am indeed one of the people of Denmark. Let me start by asking a question:

Yousef, do you actually have a clear understanding of what this is about ? Probably not, I¨ll explain for you in short, the full story is longer though ...

- The newspaper in question felt that debating anything, anything at all, related to Islam was a subject of self-censorship in Denmark, a country that for centuries has prided (not always justifing the self-proclaimed hype, though!) itself of being a lighthouse of enlightenment and freedom.

- Feeling that muslims in Denmark are as much a part of society as anybody else, and therefore should be dealt with as any other community, they dared cartoonists in Denmark to break that barrier, by drawing cartoons of the supposed messenger of Islam, Mohammad.

- The point was to show, that every subject, even that of religion, is rightful to debate in our society, in whatever ridiculous form. And while it may seem strange to you why Islam in particular was "targeted", I can inform you that Islam is definitely not the first, and hopefully not the last religion to be "targeted" in this way.

- The paper assumed, that muslims in Denmark would be open to deal with that issue, even when the subject was the most holy of the prophets of Islam.

- And, of course, they were right. Some people in Denmark, who identify with Islam, as righteous muslims, or merely as people of muslim heritage, were appalled by the drawings, and critcized them (which they had every right to do), while others defended the newspapers right to make their point. They too had every right to do that. As usual, the muslim community in Denmark acted in a civilized and constructive way, that made most people in Denmark proud and intrigued to have a muslim community in our country.

- Then, some ambassadors, representing countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and others, approached the Danish government, trying to persuade them to take legal action against the news paper, because of those "defiling" drawings,

- Now, the Danish government knows that the family enterprise calling themselves "Saudi Arabia", has the poorest track record in the world, when it comes to religious freedom, political freedom and tolerance of both, possibly with the exception of North Korea. Therefore they didn't pay much attention to that call (would you, unless you were afraid of "Saudi Arabia" ?)

- And furthermore, the Danish government has no affiliation with that news paper, and according to our laws, no jurisdiction over ANY news paper in Denmark, making it impossible and unconstitutional to take any legal action against it.

- Then, a small group of people, claiming to represent muslims in Denmark, who were extremely appalled by the drawings, but finding no resonance among the majority of Danish muslims, travelled to the Middle East, trying to convince muslim countries to take action against my country.

- Since Denmark is a pretty small country, totalitarian regimes like the one of Saudi Arabia felt they could use this case to gain some credibility in the Islamic world, without running too much risc. So they allowed anti-danish actions. (Well, at least they've allowed something now ...) And then other some arab countries jumped on that band-wagon, trying hard not to be left behind in the pro-prophet rally ...

And you know the rest of the story already ,,,

I will not defend that particular news papers REASONS to show the cartoons, merely explaining them. But I will certainly defend their RIGHT to do so, and I hope that you are able to distinguish between the two, and if so, we are brothers in the spirit, despite cultural differences.

Peace, love and freedom of speech (I hope it comes to your country soon, I certainly enjoy it, and so should you !) from Denmark.


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