Guess which side they chose?
The United States blasted the publication by European newspapers of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as unacceptable incitement to religious or ethnic hatred.
“These cartoons are indeed offensive to the beliefs of Muslims,” State Department spokesman Justin Higgins said when queried about the furore sparked by the cartoons which first appeared in a Danish newspaper.
“We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility,” Higgins told AFP.
“Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable. We call for tolerance and respect for all communities and for their religious beliefs and practices.”
To Denmark and the European newspapers that published the cartoons: I just want you to know that the State Department does not speak for me and countless other Americans.
Contact the State Department here.
Reader Poul E. e-mails me from Denmark with a question:
Is the US under sharia law?
Reader Dave C.:
Will the State Dept. come down on NBC and the writers of Will and Grace for their Cruci-fixins show due out the day before Good Friday?
New Zealand’s Dominion Post reminds its readers of the context that the State Department ignores:
The drawings were commissioned by the Jyllands-Posten (Jutland’s Post) to accompany an article on self-censorship and freedom of speech after Danish writer Kare Bluitgen was unable failed to find artists willing to illustrate his children’s book about Mohammed for fear of violent attacks by extremist Muslims.
Islamic teachings forbid pictorial depictions of Mohammed.
The cartoons were published on September 30 with an explanatory article by the newspaper’s culture editor, Flemming Rose.
The following is a translated summary of the article and explanation of the cartoons published in the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia.
“The modern, secular society is rejected by some Muslims. They demand a special position, insisting on special consideration of their own religious feelings.
“It is incompatible with contemporary democracy and freedom of speech, where you must be ready to put up with insults, mockery and ridicule.
“It is certainly not always equally attractive and nice to look at, and it does not mean that religious feelings should be made fun of at any price, but that is less important in this context. […] we are on our way to a slippery slope where no one can tell how the self-censorship will end.
“That is why the Jyllands-Posten has invited members of the Danish editorial cartoonists union to draw Mohammed as they see him.”
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