Paintings of the Prophet: Questions and Answers

The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has created a list of questions and answers regarding the 12 pictures of the Prophet Mohammed.

The full list is available in english and arabic.

Quite a lot of mis-information has been spread in the news worldwide, news that hasn’t helped the situation. The information released in this list is accurate, as a danish citizen I can verify and confirm this. Some of the highlights of the list include:

Will the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten apologise?

On 30 January 2006 the newspaper unequivocally apologised for the 12 drawings having offended many Muslims. […]

What is the status of the Danish newspaper that published the 12 drawings of the Prophet Muhammad?

The newspaper Jyllands-Posten is a private and independent newspaper in Denmark. It has no relations, whatsoever, with the Government of Denmark. The Danish Government cannot in any way influence what is or what is not printed in the Danish media.

Can the newspaper be brought to justice for the 12 drawings?

Danish legislation prohibits acts or expressions of a blasphemous or discriminatory nature and offenders can be brought before court.

Is it true that discrimination against Moslems and insults against Islam cannot be prosecuted in Denmark?

[…] “Any person, who, in public, ridicules or insults the dogmas of worship of any lawfully existing religious community in this country shall be liable to imprisonment for any term not exceeding four months or, in mitigating circumstances, to a fine.” […]

Have the 12 drawings been published in a children’s book?

The 12 drawings have not been published in a children’s book and this has never been the intention.

Is Denmark rewriting the Koran?

The Danish Government respects Islam as one of the world’s major religions and no Danish authorities would ever initiate such a disrespectful project.

How many drawings were made?

There were 12 drawings of which only some depicted the Prophet Muhammad.

Has there been published a drawing in Jyllands-Posten or any other Danish news with the Prophet depicted as a pig?

No.

Has posters been put up in Denmark with pictures of the Prophet Muhammad?

No.

Is it correct that Muslims are not allowed to demonstrate in Denmark?

No, Muslims have—just like any other citizen in Denmark—the constitutional right to hold public meetings and demonstrations. The Police can only ban outdoor demonstrations and meetings if they endanger the public order.

Is it correct that the Danish Queen Margrethe has made statements critical of Islam?

No. This is not correct. The Queen has in her New Year’s Address 2005 stated: “The Danish society is open and democratic; it is based on mutual respect as humans and on the respect for each other’s opinions”.

Is the newspaper that published the drawings state-owned?

The newspaper Jyllands-Posten is a private and independent newspaper that is neither owned by, nor affiliated to, the Government or any political party in Denmark.

Will the Danish Government make a movie about the Prophet Muhammad?

The Danish Government has no such plans.

Is the Danish Government run by a right wing and anti-Islamic party?

The Government is a coalition consisting of a Liberal and a Conservative Party, both of which are neither extreme nor anti-Islamic.

Does religious freedom exist in Denmark?

Yes. The Danish constitution explicitly states that there is religious freedom in Denmark. Denmark houses a considerable number of religious congregations, among others Islam, and they all enjoy full freedom to religious worship.

Is it correct that the Koran will be burned in Denmark?

With reference to the rumours of burning the Koran circulated on SMS the Danish Police has warned that participation in demonstrations, where such acts take place, can be criminal and led to a prison sentence.

13 thoughts on “Paintings of the Prophet: Questions and Answers”

  1. George says:

    It’s a depressing commentary on the state of the situation that half of those questions even need answering.

  2. Joen says:

    George said:

    It’s a depressing commentary on the state of the situation that half of those questions even need answering.

    Well put, and my exact sentiment.

  3. Chris says:

    […] ?Any person, who, in public, ridicules or insults the dogmas of worship of any lawfully existing religious community in this country shall be liable to imprisonment for any term not exceeding four months or, in mitigating circumstances, to a fine.? […]

    Perfectly legal in the States, by the way.

    This whole thing is just beyond ridiculous. They’ve jumped to Ludicrous speed.

  4. Jonas Rabbe says:

    There have been several comments in the Danish media from legal expert what state that Jyllandsposten probably cannot be convicted under the law that prohibits blasphemy. The only problem I see with these statements, and with how the law is enforced, is that it is interpreted by Danes with Christian/Protestant values. Sure, the law is in Denmark but shouldn’t the nature of what is blasphemous be determined by the religion which is being insulted?

    The Danish legal system has generally taken a very liberal stance in this matter, for instance, a Danish artist was taken to court for making a porn movie about Jesus, as art of course. He wasn’t convicted.

    Personally, I don’t really understand all the hubbub, but then again I’m not a very religious person. I’m just confused as to why we have this law when it seems almost impossible to be convicted under it.

    Before I take my leave, I must also remember to agree with George, it is truly sad. I will probably return for more summation of commentary when I have more time, there was an interesting article in Urban yesterday about the reasons behind the protests, and why it has come this far.

  5. Joen says:

    Jonas Rabbe said:

    Before I take my leave, I must also remember to agree with George, it is truly sad. I will probably return for more summation of commentary when I have more time, there was an interesting article in Urban yesterday about the reasons behind the protests, and why it has come this far.

    I think maybe I read that article. At least I also remember an article in Urban talking about the very same thing.

    The essence was that the war on terrorism is partly to blame for this (which I’d like to point out, Denmark is also participating in — even though I don’t like it), in the way that large parts of the muslim world feel “hunted” and “singled out”. So when a small country like Denmark comes along and makes a mistake, all hell breaks loose. Or atleast, some vents are opened.

  6. George says:

    Chris said:

    Perfectly legal in the States, by the way.

    When you consider that the US is a secular society and try to find a suitable, non-religious equivalent, you actually quickly discover that things aren’t as straightforward as that statement suggests.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_Burning_Amendment

  7. Joen says:

    Very interesting article, George.

    […] in point of fact, the U.S. Flag Code indicates that the preferred way to destroy a damaged flag is by burning it respectfully.

    While I personally have a pretty good idea what it means to burn a flag “respectfully”, I imagine it’s hard to make proper legislation on this subject matter.

  8. Chris says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_Burning_Amendment

    Don’t get me started. Still not law though, oddly enough by the grace of God. 🙂

    I couldn’t help myself.

  9. Jonas Rabbe says:

    Joen said:

    The essence was that the war on terrorism is partly to blame for
    this (which I?d like to point out, Denmark is also participating in —

    even though I don?t like it), in the way that large parts of the muslim

    world feel ?hunted? and ?singled out?. So when a small country like

    Denmark comes along and makes a mistake, all hell breaks loose. Or

    atleast, some vents are opened.

    That is exactly the article I talked about. In the article they mention other offences such as the movie Submission, and also how Submission could have resulted in the same reactions as the cartoons now have, but didn’t because the director was murdered. I’m not suggesting we kill anyone, and I doubt it would make much difference at this point.

    The article also tried to explain why the Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie didn’t result in the same animosity against the whole of Brittain and the British people, even though the book continued to be sold even after a fatwa was issued urging the death of Salman Rushdie and protests in Iran. I didn’t think they explained this too well, but basically they said what Joen outlined above.

    In this context, the war on terror is simply the latest of many “injustices”. Other injustices in the eyes of the muslim world are the expropriation of Palestine to form Israel, as well as the support of various dictators in the middle east (from the Shah to Saddam Hussein). Another reason why the cartoons are the ignition source is that the muslim world has been split on most other issues. For each injustice, someone in the middle east has gotten something, so it is not something that everyone was against. The drawings came at a time where many in the muslim world were fed up with the suspicion from the west, and it is something that everyone in the muslim world can agree is a bad thing. That said, it stopped being about the drawings very quickly. Now it is simply an excuse for demonstrating against the west, and causing a general rumpus.

    Totally unrelated, almost, the editor in chief of Jyllandsposten appearantly doesn’t want to publish charicatures of Jesus and the Hollocaust because it will cause “unnecessary debate”…

  10. Has there been published a drawing in Jyllands-Posten or any other Danish news with the Prophet depicted as a pig?

    True, however, there were unpublushed drawings of the Prophet with a pig’s head, which a Danish Imam took with him when he went to meet Arab leaders.

    I don’t even want to think what it’ll be like when submission 2 comes out…(yes, she’s making it).

  11. Joen says:

    James AkaXakA said:

    True, however, there were unpublushed drawings of the Prophet with a pig?s head, which a Danish Imam took with him when he went to meet Arab leaders.

    Incorrect!

    That picture was of a french farmer, and was taken during a christmas lunch, with everyone wearing hats and such. Nobody but the Imam said that was Mohammed.

  12. Chris says:

    In this context, the war on terror is simply the latest of many ?injustices?…

    And everything else Jonas said.

    I certainly understand or, at the least, appreciate the postition of many Muslims on various issues of infringements against them. However, their methods of resolving those issues are at best misguided, at worst, heinous.

    This is lumping too many in with the group. I understand that there are many Muslims that do not feel as the terrorists/extremists do. This is true in all religions, all creeds. There are nutbags and there are mediators of peace. The sad truth of Islam is that the nutbags have the upper hand and the mediators of peace have been shunned and are often victims of their own fatwa.

    What is very strange about this recent situation is that had there never been a Munich ’72, a Lockerbie, a Twin Towers, a Madrid, a London then the reaction of most Westerners to the current riots, burnings, protests would be one of “oh my, we had no idea we had so affronted you, shame on Denmark and shame on the newspaper for being so callous and disrespectful.” Instead, thos tragic events did occur. Instead the Western reaction is one more akin to, “typical Muslim extremists over reacting with violence and hatred as they always have. Islam is obviously the religion of hateful, evil people.” Islam is a victim of the past actions of those most intent on destroying us (the West).

    Americans look back on the sixties, and the riots and the bombings that took place then in retaliation to the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Era protests (not all non-violent) and think, “it was the right thing to do. What had happened was wrong and it was the right thing to do.” I can’t imagine anyone will look back in 20 or 30 years on the Twin Towers, London, Madrid, Denmark as having been the right thing to do to bring focus to a great injustice against an aggrieved people. In 20 years we will still be fighting terrorists, still be fighting extreme Islam.

  13. Incorrect!

    That picture was of a french farmer, and was taken during a christmas lunch, with everyone wearing hats and such. Nobody but the Imam said that was Mohammed.

    Oh! That was even on one of our newsprograms!

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