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First as tragedy, then as farce.
February 9, 2006 4:13 PM   Subscribe

This great picture was taken in the French Pig-Squealing Championships. This pic was alleged by Danish imams to be offensive to Muslims, and was included in the recent tour of the Middle East. The Brussels Journal asks some pointed questions. The Beeb belatedly explains - and (sorta) apologises.
posted by dash_slot- (35 comments total)

 
This is soooo strange. My guess is that the image was received via fax. And that maybe an insult came with it (or was --obviously-- implied). But who started the Muhammed/Pig image rumors? The article doesn't lead me to believe it was the imams...
posted by punkbitch at 4:26 PM on February 9, 2006


I posted this in an earlier thread, but think it bears repetition:

"I am a Muslim who fully supports Jyllands-Posten's right to publish the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed, as I defend the rights of Muslims to be offended. But I find the daily human rights violations by our dictators to be more offensive to the memory of the prophet's life than a few cartoons ever could be." [from IHT today].
posted by AwkwardPause at 4:27 PM on February 9, 2006


Plain and simple: I am Jewish. After all the anti-Jewish, anti-Israel stuff I have seen coming from the Imams, world-wide, I really don't care if they are "upset."
posted by Postroad at 4:28 PM on February 9, 2006


Toronto Globe and Mail interview with Ahmed Akkari, via Bill Doskoch:
Ahmed Akkari, a young Islamic scholar and Danish activist, was on a mission. Having failed to get the Prime Minister to take action over the cartoons' perceived slight to Islam, he had sought help from esteemed figures in the Muslim world, he says.

Over the next few weeks, he would hand copies of his green booklet to the grand mufti of Egypt, the chief cleric of the Sunni faith, leaders of the Arab League, the top official of the Lebanese Christian church and others.

They stared in amazement at the images in the book, he remembered during a lengthy interview yesterday, and vowed to take action to help him.

"They said to me, 'Do they really say this is the Prophet Mohammed? They must really have no respect for religion up there in Denmark.' And they said they would make it known."

Mr. Akkari now finds himself regretting the results of his brief journey, the somewhat distorted message of which flashed around the Muslim world by Internet, newspaper and text message, and caused millions of Muslims to believe that Denmark and the Nordic countries had become home to blasphemies. ...

... His booklet contained not only the 12 depictions of the Prophet Mohammed that had appeared in the newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September. He also filled it with hideous, amateur images of the Prophet as a pig, a dog, a woman and a child-sodomizing madman.

Flipping through the book yesterday, he explained that these images had been items of hate mail sent to his colleagues by right-wing extremists who disapproved of their activism. These images, he insistently demonstrated, were separated from the newspaper cartoons by several pages of letters. "How could anyone mistake these for the newspaper images?" he asked. "It cannot be that anyone would make this mistake."
posted by russilwvong at 4:30 PM on February 9, 2006


Wow... that's quite the post.

The "The propaganda factor" section of the BBC piece is very, very interesting...
posted by clevershark at 4:31 PM on February 9, 2006


Anti-jew cartoons are par for the course in the muslim world, always have been. Fucking hypocrites.
posted by puke & cry at 4:31 PM on February 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


a right to publish but a responsibility not to publish.

Hmm.
posted by freebird at 4:33 PM on February 9, 2006


Oh, by the way:
The 12 'original' cartoons were first published in Al-Faqr, a well known Egyptian newspaper, during Ramadan, according to rather convincing evidence.

The editor is proud of his stand, and is apparently alive and well.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:37 PM on February 9, 2006


"Anti-jew cartoons are par for the course in the muslim world, always have been. Fucking hypocrites."


posted by Dean Keaton at 4:50 PM on February 9, 2006



posted by billysumday at 4:56 PM on February 9, 2006


Correction:
Oh, by the way:
The 12 'original' cartoons were first published in Al-Faqr, a well known Egyptian newspaper, during Ramadan, according to rather convincing evidence.

The editor is proud of his stand, and is apparently alive and well.
posted by dash_slot- at 12:37 AM GMT on February 10

Uh, it should be obvious that they were first published in the Jyllands-Posten (in response to concerns that Danish illustrators were self-censoring by not contributing to a biography of the Prophet Mohammed). I meant to say republished in Al-Faqr. Apologies.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:04 PM on February 9, 2006


Radical Danish imams have deliberately incited hatred against Denmark, the country that had hospitably welcomed them in.

And now that a muslim imam has issued a bounty for the 'cartoon culprit' let's someone cashes in delivering the guilty imams's bloddy head.
posted by HTuttle at 5:12 PM on February 9, 2006


Jews are mushrooms now?

How do they come up with this shit? It's comedy gold!
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:22 PM on February 9, 2006


Let's see. Iran gets all pissed at IAEA, tosses them out, breaks seals, gives them the finger.

IAEA refers Iran to the UN Security council, which has rotating chairmanship. Looks like it'll get there in March.

Looks like in March the chairmanship's going to be...

Denmark.

Or so I infer from the calendar - if they go by rotation with the last two seats held by permanent members then Demark will take the third month...

Quite the coincidence, this stuff coming up at this time - isn't it?
posted by JB71 at 5:24 PM on February 9, 2006


That's an interesting connection, JB71, but I don't see how you get that from that page.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 6:21 PM on February 9, 2006


Why did the morons have to add an extra 3 fake ones FFS??? Can they lose any more credibility if they tried?

I like this bit from the third link:

it is not even a cartoon, but a fax image of a photo of a French clown performing at a pig festival

He wasn't a clown, he was a contestant in a competition.

But having said that, you'd have to be a clown to wanna dress up and enter a competition like that, so they possibly meant it! Maybe they should have said clownshoes to avoid confusion.

it is not even a cartoon, but a fax image of a photo of some French clownshoes performing at a pig festival

That's more like it.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:55 PM on February 9, 2006


Mr. Gunn, it's about a quarter of the way down. Relevant list...
The current (2006) elected members are:

Argentina (Americas)
Republic of the Congo (Africa)
Denmark (W. Europe)
Ghana (Africa)
Greece (W. Europe)
Japan (Asia)
Peru (Americas)
Qatar (Asia)
Slovakia (E. Europe)
Tanzania (Africa)
I figured the third position meant it'd take the third slot in the rotating chairmanship - but I found I was wrong here. Apparently the presidency is going to rotate as follows...

February - U.S.
March - Argentina
April - China
May - Denmark
June - France
July - Greece
August - Japan

France has already said that Iran shouldn't have nukes. China's siding with the US and France, and unlikely to be intimidated. Argentina... I'm not sure where they stand on the issue. I'm thinking it'd be moot - they don't have much of a stake and would likely go with the majority on this.

I'm wondering if this whole cartoon flap isn't the Islamic equivalent of a protection racket. "Nice country you got there. We'd hate to see anything happen to it... like an accident... if you decide the wrong way on some upcoming issues..."
posted by JB71 at 7:17 PM on February 9, 2006


It strikes me as a little weird that the presidency rotates in (English) alphabetical order.
posted by staggernation at 7:23 PM on February 9, 2006


From a friend of mine on IRC:

"The whole problem is that people who live in Muslim countries have no concept of "free press". They think that if something is published then it must have the approval of the government."

I reckon he's 100% right.
posted by Talez at 7:25 PM on February 9, 2006


The Imams claimed, however, that the false cartoons were genuinely Danish and had been added to “give an insight in how hateful the atmosphere in Denmark is towards Muslims.”

I understand the immigrant mentality, permanently feeling like a stranger and being homesick for another place and culture, resenting the comfort and connectedness of the natives. Of course, usually one either gets used to it and establishes a new life --taking advantage of an opportunity to reinvent oneself, or one returns to one's birthplace.

I don't understand the expectations of those Muslim immigrants who are unwilling or unable to accept the culture of their host country and yet don't go back to where their allegiances are. What are they expecting? Do they actually think that an Islamic armada will swoop down to take over Europe for them?
posted by semmi at 7:37 PM on February 9, 2006


The 12 'original' cartoons were first published in Al-Faqr, a well known Egyptian newspaper, during Ramadan, according to rather convincing evidence.

And reprinted in Saudi papers during the Hajj, apparently.
posted by homunculus at 7:38 PM on February 9, 2006


The WSJournal covered the Danish imams' trip yesterday, but I doubt it's online. The NYT covered it today, fleshing out the timeline and making it clear that the Danish prime minister's refusal to meet with either Danish Muslims *or* ambassadors in Denmark from Muslim countries was a key factor in the escalation of the protests. This bit about the 3 extra cartoons was interesting, too:

The group put together a 43-page dossier, including the offending cartoons and three more shocking images that had been sent to Danish Muslims who had spoken out against the Jyllands-Posten cartoons.

Mr. Akkari denied that the three other offending images had contributed to the violent reaction, saying the images, received in the mail by Muslims who had complained about the cartoons, were included to show the response that Muslims got when they spoke out in Denmark.


But they still won't let anyone talk to the folks who got the letters, and haven't shown the letters themselves. I call that playing your cards suspiciously close to your chest.
posted by mediareport at 7:40 PM on February 9, 2006


What I find interesting about all this is that according to the BBC article Danish imams distributed the hoax pic, as well as the cartoons, at the latest in November -- from the article:

This picture, a fuzzy grey photocopy, can now be traced back (suspicion having been confirmed by an admission) to a delegation of Danish Muslim leaders who went to the Middle East in November to publicise the cartoons.

So it seems implied that the anger and riots are not quite as spontaneous as we've been led to believe. "Spontaneous" things don't happen over two months after the cause is known.
posted by clevershark at 7:53 PM on February 9, 2006


Wow. This whole bizarre and stupid thing begins to finally make some sense.
posted by Artw at 8:59 PM on February 9, 2006


Jews are mushrooms now?

But are they portabello mushrooms?

Seriously, if anyone can translate the text in that image I'd appreciate it, because I would love to know what is being implied by comparing Jews to mushrooms.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:29 PM on February 9, 2006


clevershark, if you follow the various timelines closely, it does begin to look like a fairly organic and relatively slowly developing chain of events, helped along by the Egyptian and other governments that stood to gain politically by stealing some Islamist thunder from the fundie opposition. The larger protests in places like Syria were certainly organized, but I also think there was honest (and growing) frustration behind much of the escalation. The timing of the Norweigan paper's decision to run the cartoons seems in retrospect to have been a particularly unfortunate accident.
posted by mediareport at 10:10 PM on February 9, 2006


Plain and simple: I am Jewish. After all the anti-Jewish, anti-Israel stuff I have seen coming from the Imams, world-wide, I really don't care if they are "upset."
posted by Postroad at 4:28 PM PST on February 9 [!]


So you'd like to stay at the level of anti-semetic Imams?

Personally, I would rather condemn both sets of racist cartoons.
posted by jb at 12:55 AM on February 10, 2006


JB71, Per Stig Møller voiced that very same idea on live TV the other night (a Danish show called Deadline). "Could it be that they want to frighten us?"

I'm thinking that if Denmark has the power to approve Irans nuke-program, frightening them is a really dumb idea.
posted by dabitch at 1:06 AM on February 10, 2006


Personally, I would rather let both sets of racist cartoons sit there and get ignored by anyone vaguely sensible.

It's not like the Muhammad (pbuh) ones where even funny before all the rioting are general outrage started, now they are quite frankly hilarious.

Censoring cartoons isn't going to make anyone less of a rascist.
posted by public at 2:25 AM on February 10, 2006


What I meant to say was that the fallout was hilarious, the original cartoons are still pretty crap.
posted by public at 2:26 AM on February 10, 2006


The Brussels Journal is lead by Paul Belien (very bland wikipedia description), the husband of (extreme right) Vlaams Belang-politician Alexandra Colen.

Vlaams Belang is the successor to Vlaams Blok, a party that was condemned for racism in Belgium last year. Please do not consider or present this man's extreme right (and ultra-catholic) ranting as the voice of mainstream Europa.
posted by NekulturnY at 2:33 AM on February 10, 2006


Do they actually think that an Islamic armada will swoop down to take over Europe for them?

One can always dream. And it has happened before, nearly successfully. (There's also the demographic argument to be made, if you take a longer term view.)

By the way, can anyone translate the caption on the black and white smudge? Thanks in advance.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:25 AM on February 10, 2006


Staggernation: Well, the rotation's got to go in some order, and theoretically English is a worldwide language - may as well use that.

Dabitch: Yeah, it's a stupid idea... but I've noticed when hate takes over a mind then the stupidest ideas all of a sudden seem absolutely brilliant and insightful. So someone gets an idea that Denmark can be intimidated, (being, as they are, a weak and decadently corrupt Western country) and the call goes out to stock up on flags and make up the signs.

Oh, something else even more interesting from Denmark in the Security Council ...
The permanent mission of Denmark to the United Nations, headed by Ambassador Ellen Margrethe Løj, has taken seat in the Security Council in New York from January 2005 for a two-year period. The election of Denmark might be regarded as a common rotation system between the world nations; however, becoming a member of the Security Council has required some diplomatic efforts to obtain support from the individual member states of the General Assembly.

Moreover, Denmark has succeeded in being elected as chairman of the UN Counter Terrorist Committee (CTC) from April 2005. The CTC is subsidiary to the Security Council and monitors the individual member states' obligations to raise national capacity against terrorism, according to resolution 1373 of September 28, 2001. This brings Denmark in a central position in a world where security policy is becoming increasingly synonymous with the fight against terrorism.
Looks like a 1-year chairmanship, then it goes to the next in line. according to the CTC site.

Hm. Why is this reminding me of a protection racket?

"Nice little country you got here, very picturesque... You know, it'd be a shame if anything happened to it. Accidents happen, after all. A burned flag here, a riot or two there, and pretty soon it adds up. And all over some silly cartoons... But I tell you what - you make nice to our friend Iran over there, and I don't think you'll need to worry about any little accidents..."
posted by JB71 at 6:15 AM on February 10, 2006


IndigoJones: By the way, can anyone translate the caption on the black and white smudge?

The caption reads: "Here is the right photo of Muhammed."
posted by AwkwardPause at 9:15 AM on February 10, 2006


Thank you! I guess I was expecting something more, I don't know- bombastic? Still, curiosity satisfied, so again, thank you.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:11 AM on February 10, 2006


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