Ideas About Denmark - NOT about caricatures
Take-A-Pen editorial, in English* - update 27 February 2006
Eyes of the international community are on Denmark, these days.
At first sight it is simple; we at Take-A-Pen strongly believe that no descent person would want to offend any religion. Even to legal humor and irony about religious matters there should be self-imposed limits and restraint (as the British used to say: "Gentlemen do not argue about religion").
But further we may have some less obvious ideas.
How did this story really start? A concise description of the events is that of Robert Spencer ("Thou shalt not Draw" in the FrontPageMagazine on December 21, 2005):
"Last September, Danish author Kåre Bluitgen was set to publish a book on the Muslim prophet Muhammad, but there was just one catch: he couldn't find an illustrator. Artistic representations of the human form are forbidden in Islam (as in Judaism*), and pictures of Muhammad are especially taboo - so three artists turned down Bluitgen's offer to illustrate the book for fear that they would pay with their lives for doing so.
Frants Iver Gundelach, president of the Danish Writers Union, decried this as a threat to free speech - and the largest newspaper in Denmark, Jyllands-Posten, responded. They approached forty (40*) artists asking for depictions of Muhammad and received in response twelve (12*) cartoons of the Prophet - several playing on the violence committed by Muslims in the name of Islam around the world today. "
The rest is history, on-line history this time.
Our questions now are:
Did this story really start with the cartoons? Or, with what?
Are the caricatures the real issue and the goal?
Or, can the real issue be whether an old European democracy can hold his good old values upright, or, together with the 28 cartoonists of the 40 invited, prefers to keep distant, considering well the dangers, the Islamist threats and the deadly precedent of Theo Van Gogh?
Is it possible that the well-orchestrated global anti-Danish campaign has something to do with the Danes having had enough of Muslim mass immigration into Denmark and of Muslim hostility towards the hosts? Might it have something to do with the Danes having changed their government from liberal to conservative, and their immigration rules accordingly?
In July 2005 anarchists, allegedly Muslim immigrants, burned the private car of Denmark's Minister for Immigration and death threats to her and her family were voiced ("Anarchists torch minister's car and Denmark's ideals" - Irish Times, 10 June 2005).
Did the perpetrators take revenge already in July for the cartoons to come in October? Or the new immigration laws of Denmark accepting immigrants less generously had actually been the real reason of the Muslim uproar against Denmark, and the cartoons were not much more than a pretext?
Having looked back to old times 'Before the Cartoons' (B.C.) let's have now a look towards the future; A.C., After the Cartoons'. If not the cartoons, then what else can be the future goal of the well-orchestrated and state-sponsored Islamist riots?
Some suggest as relevant for the analysis of the motives behind the riots that Denmark has the chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council for the whole year of 2006. Thus for any plans Islamist expansionism has for this year, it would be most helpful to intimidate Denmark and thus manipulate the agenda. The cartoon riots are here probably to cover up to Islamist global ambitions and to discourage anti-terror acts like the designation of Islamist organizations or states as sponsors of terrorism.
Therefore the debate about the cartoons and the riots is much more important that it seems to be. That is why we support and urge all of you, and in particular our dear Danish Pen-friends, to write now; to write to media and to politicians, for your values, for freedom of speech and of thought. Write whatever you think, about any aspect of the cartoon crisis, but be sure to express Yourself!
This may be a decisive debate for the future of your country and society, and maybe for more.
(*E.Mozes, Take-A-Pen Chairman wrote this editorial)