- Socrates was condemned to death, Galileo was convicted of heresy, James Joyce’s “Ulysses” was banned from the United States, all in the name of higher morals. In every case, the condemning judges proved to be the fools - Pierre Tristam
When the anti-theocratic cartoons of 2005 led to murderous religious violence resulting in over 100 deaths it was in little Denmark that the conflagration first ignited. The country quickly became the target for Islamist hate crime: a "Kristallnacht against Denmark" which saw the country “subjected to a fantastic, incredible, organized campaign of lies and hatred and violence”
The cartoons had their origins in Flemming Rose, then cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten, being deeply worried about the fear he witnessed amongst artists, that was seriously curbing intellectual freedom.
I commissioned the cartoons in response to several incidents of self-censorship in Europe caused by widening fears and feelings of intimidation in dealing with issues related to Islam.
The controversy was stoked by Danish imams who went on their world-wide “hate Denmark” tour and “added in three vile cartoons of their own fabrication to stoke anti-Danish feelings".
Ahmad Akkari was a spokesman for a delegation of imams who travelled to Lebanon, Egypt and Syria to stir up opposition to the newspaper.
Their journeys helped turn the dispute into an international crisis. Dozens were killed in weeks of protests that included violent attacks against Danish missions in Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Lebanon. Tiny Denmark found itself on a collision course with the Muslim world.
Akkari has since acknowledged that he was wrong, even going as far as to apologise to one of the cartoonists, Kurt Westergaard.
I want to be clear today about the trip: It was totally wrong ... At that time, I was so fascinated with this logical force in the Islamic mindset that I could not see the greater picture. I was convinced it was a fight for my faith, Islam.
After one trip to Lebanon in 2007 to meet Islamic leaders his view altered: "I was shocked. I realized what an oppressive mentality they have."
Unfortunately, others of his faith are no where near as reflective as was witnessed in Copenhagen at the weekend when an attack was launched on a conference hosting the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. Hugh Muir has characterised the type of action as 'a massively violent, militaristic attack on intellectual discourse ... in which protest is advanced through murder.' As with the attack on Charlie Hebdo the Copenhagen one was followed up with a murderous assault on Jewish people just in case the world might forget that the difference between the theocratic fascists and the Nazi fascists is not that great.
If cartoons are that annoying or offensive:
Don’t buy the offending newspaper, don’t buy the offending book, don’t visit the offending exhibit or watch the offending movie, and so on.
Hugh Muir argues that ‘we must guard against the understandable temptation to be provocative in the publication of these cartoons if the sole objective is to establish that we can’. I think there are times when we must publish because of the theocratic insistence that we can’t.