Les Caricatures de Mahomet du journal Jyllands-Posten

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The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy began after 12 editorial cartoons, most of which depicted Prophet Muhammad, were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on September 30, 2005. This, along with other Muhammad cartoons controversies, remain some of the most well-known examples of Muslim intolerance and disregard for freedom of speech.

5,000 Muslims soon took to the streets in Denmark in protest, and further publication of the cartoons around the globe led to international protests that escalated to violence and numerous deaths, including that of Father Andrea Santoro, a Catholic priest in Turkey, who was murdered by a 16-year-old high school student screaming "Allahu Akbar"[1][2] in retaliation to the cartoons.[3][4] The priest was shot from behind, while he remained knelt in prayer at church.

The cartoonist's life was also threatened, and three men were arrested for plotting his murder.[5] By the end of February 2006 more than 40 people had died[6] due to the retaliatory reaction, and its continued republication has resulted in more than 200 deaths and hundreds of injuries.[7] In October 2009, FBI agents arrested two Chicago men, David Headley (aka Daood Gilani) and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, for plotting to kill employees of the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten.[8]

On January 2, 2010 a Muslim Somali knife-wielding man with ties to al Qaeda used an axe to break into the home of cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. Westergaard fled to a panic room and hid there until police arrived within minutes and shot the suspect, wounding him in the right leg and left hand. Danish intelligence officials said the suspect is connected to al-Shabaab, al Qaeda's ally in east Africa.[9][10]

On January 15, 2010 a dozen Pakistani Muslims in Lahore burned a Norwegian flag and chanted slogans after a Norwegian newspaper reprinted the famous Danish Muhammad cartoons and a Norwegian Member of Parliament changed his Facebook profile picture to the caricature of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.[11]

After the devastating earthquake that shook Haiti in January 2010, TV2’s morning lifestyle programme Go’morgen Danmark organized a fund-raiser to help the victims of the natural disaster. They asked well known politicians and personalities to donate personal items for the charity fund-raiser auction, but when cartoonist Kurt Westergaard was asked to submit a new drawing for the auction, the auctioneers refused to accept it for fear of instigating terror threats.[12]

On February 26, 2010 the Danish daily newspaper Politiken apologized for offending Muslims by reprinting the cartoon of Muhammad with a bomb-shaped turban, and explained that its apology was part of a settlement with a Saudi lawyer representing eight Muslim groups in the Middle East and Australia.[13] The Saudi lawyer Faisal Yamani representing the eight groups, who claim to be "descendants of Muhammad," announced plans to confront another 15 newspapers, filing lawsuits against them if necessary.[14]

A related controversy is "Jesus with erection", a picture that was made in reaction to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons, by students at the University of Oregon and published in the March 2006 edition of the Student Insurgent. The picture shows a naked Jesus Christ on the Cross with an erection. The students made eleven more pictures of Jesus. One of the pictures is called Resurrection. In it, Jesus is kissing a man; both are naked and both have erections.

The cartoonists from the student paper, said they wanted to "start a dialogue" and show that the over-reaction of Muslims to the controversial European cartoons of Muhammad were not that different to the Christian reaction to their images. However, no such violent response followed. Whilst some Christians in the United States were vocal in their condemnation of the images, there were no riots, acts of violence, executions or plots to kill the cartoonists in the US, Europe, Africa, or anywhere else. And the cartoonist were not forced into hiding.[15]

See Also

  • Free Speech - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Free Speech

External Links


  1. Gerger, Adnan (2007-02-23). "Kayıp silahlar Türkiye’de kullanıldı" (in Turkish). NTV-MSNBC
  2. Reuters: Turkish court upholds sentence for priest's killer, October 4, 2007
  3. "Murder of priest 'religious revenge'". Independent Online. 2006-02-08
  4. Cartoons 'part of Zionist plot' - The Guardian, February 7, 2006
  5. Peter Popham - Three arrested for plot to kill Mohamed Cartoonist - The Independent, February 13, 2008
  6. Journalism For Integration - The Muhammad Cartoons - Encyclopedia Britannica
  7. Yale Removes Cartoons of Prophet Muhammad From Forthcoming Book, Citing Fears of Violence - Fox News, September 08, 2009
  8. Natasha Korecki - Two Chicago men charged in terror scheme - Naperville Sun, October 28, 2009
  9. Somali shot after allegedly attempting to attack Danish cartoonist - CNN, January 2, 2010
  10. Danish cartoonist hid in 'panic room' during attack - CNN, January 2, 2010
  11. Jim Robbins - Muslim extremists flip out over Facebook photo - (Water Cooler: A Global Blog), The Washington Times, January 15, 2010
  12. Charity cartoon rejected over terror fears - The Copenhagen Post, January 19, 2010
  13. Jan M. Olsen - Danish newspaper apologizes for offence caused by reprint of Prophet Muhammad drawing - Associated Press, February 26, 2010
  14. Patrick Goodenough - ‘Descendants of Mohammed’ Confront Newspapers Over Cartoons, Demanding Apologies and Eyeing Lawsuits - CNS News, March 2, 2010
  15. Jesus with erection - Wikipedia, accessed July 26, 2012