Thursday, March 23, 2006

Interlude: Selected quotations on the "Cartoon Row"

I'm currently backed up with other writing obligations, so instead of a lengthy chapter in my ongoing dissection of the "Cartoon Row", I'm going to temporize by offering you some selected quotations from various sources, in connection with the controversy.

It is often the case with quotations that they are taken out of context, but I've tried not to abuse this, and I've sourced them all as carefully as possible.

Here you go:
"Evil forces journeyed out on a tour of the Muslim world. The Islamic Society in Denmark, with the imam Abu Laban at their head, spread lying and spiteful propaganda against the country that has received them with open arms. That the case has developed into an international conflict is solely due to deliberately misrepresented messages regarding both Jyllands-Posten and the government, as well as the Danish People's Party.

And look at the mess it has gotten us into..."

- Pia Kjærsgaard, Danish MP and leader of Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People's Party), writing in her weekly newsletter, January 30 2006.
An interesting quotation, that illustrates the way the xenophobes in Denmark choose to interpret the affair. One can't help but note the use of the word "evil" and the phrase "welcomed with open arms" (here used in contrast, to illustrate how ungrateful and perfidious the imams supposedly are).

"If anyone should apologise, it is Saudi Arabia. Apologise for its open contempt of human rights, its scorn for freedom of religious expression, and its systematic repression of equal rights.


Saudi Arabia should be ashamed of itself, and an apology for offending that country with satirical drawings amounts to falling at the knees of fundamentalism.

My message to Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries that joined the boycott is: You insult my democratic conviction. Say sorry."

- Naser Khader, Danish MP for Radikale Venstre (Danish Social Liberal Party), writing in the Danish daily Berlingske Tidende, January 31 2006.

" the Muslim world, we are not used to laughing at religion, our own or anybody else's. This is far from our understanding. For that reason, these cartoons are seen, by average Muslims and not just radicals, as a transgression against something sacred, a provocation against Islam."

- Tariq Ramadan, in the International Herald Tribune, February 5 2006.

"Fogh is dead in Europe. From now on, he's just the guy with the Muhammad case."

- Anonymous source close to Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen, quoted in the Danish daily Berlingske Tidende, March 19 2006, describing the remoteness of Fogh Rasmussen's chances of ever getting an important position in an international organisation after his eventual retirement.
I'm generally unhappy with using anonymous sources, but this one was just too good to leave out. Also, please note that Berlingske Tidende is a conservative paper that is usually extremely supportive of Anders Fogh Rasmussen and his government.

"We regret that there has been this misunderstanding. It was never our intention. We're sorry that it has caused these hurt feelings and offense in Denmark. {...} It was never our intention to link Denmark and racism, or LEGO and racism in this way."

- José Luis Díaz, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to Danish television channel DR, March 21 2006, in response to Danish outrage at an anti-racism poster produced by the UN, using a LEGO brick, a poster that had been perceived in Denmark as a comment on the "Cartoon Row" (even though the UN had previously used LEGO in the context of posters, e.g. for the UNHCR's series of "LEGO refugee" posters, in 1994 & 1997).
Apparently, the UN has no difficulty apologising over hurting people's feelings, intentionally or otherwise. Perhaps Anders Fogh Rasmussen could take a hint from this.

That's what I have to offer, this time. I'll return, soon, with another installment in my series of articles on that great soap opera of our times, the "Cartoon Row".

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Anonymous Subhan said...

This is Subhan and recently you had posted a comment at my blog (Islamistan). Sorry for late responding.

This is the original post link

28 March, 2006 06:12  
Blogger RP said...

Thanks for notifying me, Subhan.

28 March, 2006 13:10  

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