Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Human rights Watch Critical of Cartoons Publication

The cartoon controversy should be understood against a backdrop of rising Western prejudice and suspicion directed against Muslims, and an associated sense of persecution among Muslims in many parts of the world. In Europe, rapidly growing Muslim communities have become the continent’s largest religious minority but also among its most economically disadvantaged communities and the target of discriminatory and anti-immigration measures. Acts of violence carried out in the name of radical Islamist groups coupled with parallel efforts to suppress that violence have aggravated tensions. So have disputes over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and continuing tensions in the Mideast over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In addition, several authoritarian governments in Muslim countries have seized on the cartoon controversy to deflect pressure from their own citizens for increased official accountability and respect for basic rights.

The HRW is keenly critical. However, it criticizes the legal action taken i some muslim countries against papers and editors that have published the cartoons.

The HRW does not see the publication as an isolated event, but sees it in the connection with social inequality and rising prejudice in Western countries against the muslim minority. It is also seen in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iraq war.

A muslim living in Denmark writes in an Arab blog about the cartoon case history, as she has followed it:

I followed the issue from its very start in September 2005; a loony communist writer proposed to fill a wagon with qurans, then shed some menstruation blood on it (his name is Kare Bluitgen) - he declared he wanted to irritate Muslims for fun (he called it ART!)Nobody took him serious and he was ignored for a while. Then suddenly he declared he wanted to make a comic book about the life of our Prophet Muhammed (SAAS). He could not get anyone to draw the book, though. That started a discussion in the newspapers about why no one would draw the comic - Bluitgen claimed that Muslims had intimidated artists from working on the book. When journalists ridiculed him, he suggested to bring some comic drawings in the media to "test" the reaction of the Muslim community. The rest is history...

This impressions seems to be confirmed by Danish sources: Jyllandsposten wrote about the Drawings when the paper printed them that you must be ready to put up with mockery derision and ridicule (JP, 30.9.2005). Therefore it is beside the point when the paper's top brass again and again say that they did not intend to offend - this was exactly the intention.


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