The cartoon row: aiming for maximum shock value

Iran newspaper Hamshahri came up with an original plan to counter the release of Danish cartoons making fun of the prophet Muhammad and decided to hold a little cartoon contest to test the limits of free speech:

The daily paper Hamshahri said the contest was designed to test the boundaries of free speech — the reason given by many European newspapers for publishing the Prophet Mohammad cartoons.

Fair enough, you’d say? Well, not quite. The theme of the contest is the Holocaust, incidentally called an “incident”:

A serious question for Muslims … is this: “Does Western free speech allow working on issues like America and Israel’s crimes or an incident like the Holocaust or is this freedom of speech only good for insulting the holy values of divine religions?”‘ the paper said on Tuesday.

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Danish Pastry Cooking?

As the Quartet of would-be Mideast peacemakers meets in huddled session, and as Angela Merkel does some plain talking, another closely related issue is going the rounds today (and this, and this):

“In a demonstration on the West Bank, members of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades threatened Danes in the area and told them to leave immediately, the Danish news agency Ritzau reported on Sunday. The demonstrators burned the Danish flag and called on the Palestinian authorities to cut diplomatic ties with Denmark, Ritzau said.”

“Libya has said it is closing its embassy in Denmark in protest against a series of caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.”

“A roadside bomb targeted a joint Danish-Iraqi military patrol near the southern city of Basra on Monday — the first attack on Danish troops since protests against a Danish newspaper for publishing widely criticized caricatures of Islam’s prophet.”

Danish Blogger Claus Vistessen has the story as it is seen from inside Denmark:

Four months ago the Danish newspaper Jyllandsposten posted 12 drawings of the muslim prophet depicting him as they saw him but with a clear provocative bordering to tactless zeal … the most notable drawing was one showing Muhammed, with a turban containing a large bomb.

The cartoons resulted in immediate protests and demonstrations from Muslims in Denmark, but to sum it all up; two very important things happened as a result of the drawings.
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