Monday, February 06, 2006

IT JUST GETS WORSE

From the BBC:
Four people have died in violent protests against cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad, following more than a week of demonstrations.

Three people died after police in Afghanistan fired on protesters when a police station came under attack, a government spokesman said.

In Somalia, a 14-year-old boy was shot dead and several others were injured after protesters attacked the police.

...

Monday's deaths were thought to be the first, but officials in Lebanon have now confirmed that a demonstrator died on Sunday after jumping from the third floor of the Danish embassy in Beirut to escape a fire.
And all over some cartoons that were published last year.

The BBC provide a helpful round-up:
  • A crowd of about 200 people used stones to smash windows at the Austrian embassy in Tehran, and firecrackers and smoke bombs were set off

  • In Indonesia, police fired warning shots at protesters outside the US consulate in Surabaya, the country's second largest city. Earlier, demonstrators hurled stones and broke windows at the Danish consulate in the city, and there were protests in the capital, Jakarta

  • Riot police in the Indian capital, Delhi, fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse hundreds of students protesting against the cartoons

  • Shops and businesses across Indian-administered Kashmir were closed after a general strike was called in protest at the drawings

  • In Thailand, protesters shouted "God is great" and stamped on Denmark's flag outside the country's embassy in Bangkok, the Associated Press news agency reported

  • There were protests outside the European Union offices in Gaza, following demonstrations there last week.
So who's responsible for the furore? The Telegraph lays the blame squarely at the feet of a group of Danish imams who toured the Middle East last year, including in their cartoon dossier several fake cartoons:
The cartoons row grew yesterday with sharp questions asked about a group of Danish imams who toured the Middle East denouncing their own country for allowing images of the Prophet Mohammed to be published.

The group created a 43-page dossier on what they said was rampant racism and Islamophobia in Denmark and took it to politicians and leading clerics in Egypt and Lebanon in a series of trips late last year.

The Danish media have tried to question the Muslim delegates on how they came to include three extra, obscene cartoons in the dossier, in addition to the 12 images that started the row when they were published by a Danish newspaper in September.

The extra cartoons, whose origins remain obscure, show Mohammed with a pig's snout, a dog raping a praying Muslim and Mohammed as a "paedophile demon".
The CounterTerrorism Blog has more:
Last Friday the CT Blog revealed how a delegation of Danish Muslims, led by Copenhagen imam Abu Laban, toured the Middle East in December and showed fabricated cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in a very offensive fashion, even though the pictures had never appeared on Jyllands Posten.

The controversy has now exploded in Denmark. Friday night Danish public television, DR, ran two interesting stories about Abu Laban, the man who organized the delegation's trip to the Middle East. While the first profiled him, showing his extensive links to the Egyptian group Gamaa Islamiya, the second showed his double-talk. Abu Laban, in fact, was first shown speaking on Danish television condemning the boycott of Danish goods (in English), then shown interviewed on al Jazeera, cheerfully commenting on the effectiveness of the boycott (in Arabic). To see the stories go to DR's website, click on "Se TV AVISEN" on the right and select the news broadcast from Friday, Feb. 3, at 9 PM (the stories start on the 23rd minute).

Moreover, Andy Cochran has just made available to me the English translation of the Arabic letter that the Danish Muslim delegation presented during their tour of the Middle East. To see the document, irrefutable proof of the delegation's intent to create animosity, click here: Download danish_letter.pdf

UPDATE 2/5: The original files in Arabic and Danish, first published in the Danish daily Ekstra Bladet, can be found here.
OK, so this may help to explain the lag between the publication of the cartoons and the ensuing protests, but as the visit was last December it still cannot account for the month of January, during which time presumably these imams weren't showing off their fake pictures to Middle Eastern Muslims. The translation of the letter the delegation are alleged to have presented whilst on the road also leaves a lot to be desired.

But regardless of the extent of the culpability of these Danish imams, four people dead over some shoddy cartoons isn't on.

Nor is dressing your kid like this, courtesy of the Sun:



Good luck picking your jaw up from the floor.

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