Newsletter No 14 17 January 2006
News from the Media Scene:
Norwegian Magazine Publishes Cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed

The Norwegian magazine Magazinet has published twelve cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed that had previously been published by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

The cartoons, which the newspaper says it published to test whether fear of Islamic retribution was limiting expression, drawn protests from Islamic institutions. The Muslim World League has expressed its indignation over the cartoons, saying they were a “terrible offense” since the magazine chose to publish them at the beginning of the Aid al Kabir religious festivities.

Magazinet Editor Vebjoern Selbekk wrote: “just like Jyllands-Posten, I have become sick of the ongoing hidden erosion of the freedom of expression,” Al reported. He said that he was not afraid of facing Muslim reactions, nor even the death threats the Danish paper received after it published the cartoons.

Last September, Jyllands-Posten invited cartoonists to submit drawings of the prophet Mohammed after an author complained that nobody dared illustrate his book on Mohammed. The newspaper published 12 cartoons, to test whether fear of Islamic reaction had begun to limit freedom of expression in Denmark.

The cartoons caused an uproar in Muslim communities in Denmark and abroad. Eleven ambassadors from Islamic countries wrote a letter to Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmusssen in October to say they were offended by the caricatures and demanded an official apology from the newspaper.