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Jihad In Europe (Part 2) -- High Maintenance Muslims 'Seething' Again about a Cartoon


Swedish Mohammed-as-dog Sketches Start Another Ridiculous Backlash

Pakistan Whines to Sweden About Mohammed Sketches

Swedish Artist's Mohammed Sketch Prompts Another Muslim Uproar


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Swedish Mohammed-as-dog Sketches Start Another Ridiculous Backlash

By Matthew Sheffield
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-sheffield/2007/08/31/swedish-mohammed-dog-cartoon-starts-another-ridiculous-backlash
August 31, 2007


Two years after a Danish newspaper provoked manufactured outrage in the Islamic world by printing a series of cartoons lampooning Islam's founder, a Swedish newspaper may have done the same with a series of sketches:

Marking the beginning of yet another dispute over free speech and religious sensitivity, the government of Pakistan has joined Iran in protesting the publication in a Swedish newspaper of a sketch featuring the head of Mohammed on the body of a dog.

"Pakistan condemns, in the strongest terms, the publication of an offensive and blasphemous sketch of the Holy Prophet in the Swedish newspaper," the foreign ministry in Islamabad said in a statement Thursday.

A Swedish diplomat was summoned to the ministry and "was told that the publication of the sketch had caused grave affront to the religious sentiments of Muslims," it said.

"Regrettably, the tendency among some Europeans to mix the freedom of expression with an outright and deliberate insult to 1.3 billion Muslims in the world is on the rise," the statement said.

A Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman told Sweden's English-language The Local that the diplomat had apologized for any hurt feelings the publication may have caused.

The government in Stockholm has distanced itself from the decision by a regional newspaper, Nerikes Allehanda, to publish the picture on August 18. The sketch, by artist Lars Vilks, was used to illustrate an editorial on freedom of expression.

The paper noted that three Swedish art exhibitions had turned down three Vilks sketches depicting a bearded, turbaned man as a dog, apparently because of security concerns.

In defense of his paper, Nerikes Allehanda editorialis Lars Ströman wrote an excellent editorial defending free speech, especially the freedom to parody:

A liberal society must be able to do two things at the same time. On the one hand, it must be able to defend Muslims' right to freedom of religion and their right to build mosques. However, on the other hand, it is also permissible to ridicule Islam's most foremost symbols - just like all other religions' symbols. There is no opposition between these two goals. In fact, it is even the case that they presuppose each other.Therefore it is quite logical that the Muslim newspaper Minaret, together with the association Secular Muslims in Sweden, is planning an exhibition displaying Lars Vilks's drawings.

Religion is a more sensitive area than politics. Religious belief is more personal and therefore if a religious symbol is violated or ridiculed, this can be felt to be a personal insult. This does not only apply to Muslims.

In 1979, the Monty Python team made the film "Life of Brian." It is not about Jesus but about Brian, a young man who was born and who lived contemporarily with the founder of Christianity. "Life of Brian" was forbidden in Norway under the law forbidding blaspheme. In the USA, there were voices calling for the film to be forbidden. John Cleese pointed out that God no doubt can take care of himself. I am a practicing Christian myself and I think "Life of Brian" is a very funny film. [...]

The right to freedom of religion and the right to blaspheme religions go together. They presuppose one another.

What happens if a fundamentalist Muslim wants to express his faith through pictorial art? Quite clearly, it will be easy to persuade art galleries that the pictures are unsuitable, that they may lead to conflict. So the restriction of Lars Vilks's possibilities to express himself may also negatively affect Muslims' right to express themselves.



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Pakistan Whines to Sweden About Mohammed Sketches

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=26861_Pakistan_Whines_to_Sweden_About_Mohammed_Sketches&only
Aug 30, 2007


Our ally Pakistan is now getting into the "billions of offended Muslims" act, whining to the Swedish government about the dreaded roundabout dogs of blasphemy: Pakistan slams Sweden for Muhammad cartoon.

And it seems that the Swedish government is already beginning to cave in.

Pakistan has added its voice to that of Iran in condemning the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in newspaper Nerikes Allehanda.

The Swedish Chargé d'Affaires in Islamabad was called to the Pakistani Foreign Office on Thursday for a dressing down by a government official. The move comes several days after a Swedish diplomat in Teheran was summoned by the government there to face a similar protest.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Pakistan condemned the publication "in the strongest terms."

"Regrettably, the tendency among some Europeans to mix the freedom of expression with an outright and deliberate insult to 1.3 billion Muslims in the world is on the rise," the statement said.

It went on to say that the Swedish Chargé d'Affaires said the Swedish government "fully shared the views of the Muslim community" and called the publication "unfortunate."

Nerikes Allehanda editor Ulf Johansson told The Local that it would be "peculiar" if the Swedish Chargé d'Affaires had criticized the cartoon. Such a statement would contradict the Swedish government's previous line of not interfering with press freedom, he said.

"We have noted this and contacted the Swedish Foreign Ministry for an explanation," he said.

Here's Pakistan's official seethe.

PAKISTAN CONDEMNS THE PUBLICATION OF OFFENSIVE SKETCH IN SWEDEN

Pakistan condemns, in the strongest terms, the publication of an offensive and blasphemous sketch of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in the Swedish newspaper "Nerikes Allehanda" in the city of Orebro. Regrettably, the tendency among some Europeans to mix the freedom of expression with an outright and deliberate insult to 1.3 billion Muslims in the world is on the rise. In the past also sketches and caricatures of this nature have been published in Europe in the name of the 'freedom of expression'. Such acts deeply undermine the efforts of those who seek to promote respect and understanding among religions and civilizations.

Today the Swedish Charge d'Affaires was summoned to the Foreign Office by Additional Secretary (Europe) and a strong protest lodged with him. The Swedish Charge d'Affaires was told that the publication of the sketch had caused grave affront to the religious sentiments of Muslims. He was further told that the Government of Pakistan expected greater sensitivity on the part of the Swedish government on this issue. The Swedish Cd'A explained that the Swedish government fully shared the views of the Muslim community and termed the publication as unfortunate.

Pakistan will also hold consultations with the OIC to determine the future course of action against the repetition of such provocative publications. The Government of Pakistan will continue to work, with like-mineded countries, in the UN to find ways of addressing the recurring issue of defamation of Islam and its sacred personalities.


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Swedish Artist's Mohammed Sketch Prompts Another Muslim Uproar

By Patrick Goodenough
http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewForeignBureaus.asp?Page=/ForeignBureaus/archive/200708/INT20070831a.html
August 31, 2007


Marking the beginning of yet another dispute over free speech and religious sensitivity, the government of Pakistan has joined Iran in protesting the publication in a Swedish newspaper of a sketch featuring the head of Mohammed on the body of a dog.

"Pakistan condemns, in the strongest terms, the publication of an offensive and blasphemous sketch of the Holy Prophet in the Swedish newspaper," the foreign ministry in Islamabad said in a statement Thursday.

A Swedish diplomat was summoned to the ministry and "was told that the publication of the sketch had caused grave affront to the religious sentiments of Muslims," it said.

"Regrettably, the tendency among some Europeans to mix the freedom of expression with an outright and deliberate insult to 1.3 billion Muslims in the world is on the rise," the statement said.

A Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman told Sweden's English-language The Local that the diplomat had apologized for any hurt feelings the publication may have caused.

The government in Stockholm has distanced itself from the decision by a regional newspaper, Nerikes Allehanda, to publish the picture on August 18. The sketch, by artist Lars Vilks, was used to illustrate an editorial on freedom of expression.

The paper noted that three Swedish art exhibitions had turned down three Vilks sketches depicting a bearded, turbaned man as a dog, apparently because of security concerns.

A few months after a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, in September 2005 published a dozen caricatures of Mohammed, simmering anger among Muslims erupted.

The cartoons, later reproduced in other European newspapers, triggered death threats, diplomatic strains, a Mideast boycott of Danish products, and protests -- some of them deadly -- in a number of Islamic countries.

The ripple effects of the episode are still being felt, with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a 57-member bloc of Islamic states, working to have international institutions outlaw the "defamation of prophets" and combat "Islamophobia."

Pakistan's foreign ministry said Islamabad would consult with the OIC and "continue to work with like-minded countries in the U.N. to find ways of addressing the recurring issue of defamation of Islam and its sacred personalities."

Earlier this week the Iranian government also summoned a Swedish diplomat for a dressing-down, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at a press conference during which he raged about Jews, accused "Zionists" of being responsible for the sketch.

(Ironically, Vilks has not restricted his provocative work to Islam. His website also features a sketch of a hooked-nosed pig, described as a "modern Jew sow." A Swedish group of secular Muslims had offered to exhibit the artist's Mohammed sketches, but then withdrew the offer, citing the anti-Semitic cartoon.)

'Right to blaspheme'

Tensions between Muslims and Christians and secularists in a number of European countries have risen significantly in recent years. Growing Muslim communities say they are victims of intolerance and racism, while non-Muslim critics worry about attempts by Muslims -- sometimes supported or facilitated by liberal governing authorities -- to introduce Islamic norms, including aspects of Islamic law.

About four percent of Sweden's population is Muslim, roughly the same proportion as in Denmark.

The Swedish newspaper publishers' association has come out in support of Nerikes Allehanda's decision to publish the Mohammed sketch.

"The strength of freedom of expression lies in the fact that it tolerates -- and protects -- not only comfortable, harmless and uncontroversial opinions, but also those that are tasteless, controversial, upsetting and offensive," the group's deputy chairman said in a statement.

Nerikes Allehanda on Tuesday published an editorial on the subject, arguing that "the right to freedom of religion and the right to blaspheme religions go together."

"A liberal society must be able to do two things at the same time," wrote editorial writer Lars Stroman, "On the one hand, it must be able to defend Muslims' right to freedom of religion and their right to build mosques. However, on the other hand, it is also permissible to ridicule Islam's most foremost symbols -- just like all other religions' symbols."

Stroman drew a distinction between his newspaper's decision and the situation that arose last year after Jyllands-Posten published the 12 Mohammed cartoons.

"For a number of years now, xenophobic forces in Danish politics have had too much space to maneuver," he said. "For many Muslims in Denmark, the drawings in Jyllands-Posten were an expression of increased intolerance."

Flemming Rose, the Jyllands-Posten cultural editor who published the cartoons, wrote on his blog that Swedish media have long "avoided this kind of debate." Many Swedes view Danes as xenophobic and racist, he said, and noted that no major Swedish newspaper in 2006 had published the Jyllands-Posten cartoons.

During the earlier dispute, newspapers in a number of European countries, including France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway, reproduced some or all of the Danish cartoons, either to illustrate their reporting on the subject or as a free-speech statement.

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