Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Danish Muhammad Cartoons: A History

A few days ago, the Paris headquarters of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was firebombed.

Though the magazine regularly mocks the beliefs of both Catholics and Protestants, its offices were only destroyed after publishing a recent cartoon of Muhammad, and claiming that Islam's prophet is the latest editor-and-chief.

The violent response to this cartoon is connected to the publication of the Danish Muhammad cartoons in 2005. After Muslim outrage erupted around the world, Charlie Hebdo republished the cartoons in 2006 and was later sued by Muslims.

The Telegraph has put together a brief history of the Muhammad cartoons:


September 30

A series of cartoons, some depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist with a bomb, are published by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

October 17

Egyptian newspaper al-Fagr reprints some of the cartoons, slamming them as a "continuing insult" and a "racist bomb".

October 20

Ambassadors from 10 Islamic countries complain to the Danish prime minister about the cartoons.


January 10

A Norwegian newspaper reprints the cartoons.

January 26

Saudi Arabia recalls its ambassador to Denmark. Libya closes its embassy in Copenhagen.

January 30

Gunmen raid the EU's offices in Gaza, demanding an apology over the cartoons.

January 31

The Danish paper apologises. The Danish prime minister welcomes the apology but says the freedom of the press must be upheld.

February 1

Papers in France, Germany, Italy and Spain reprint the caricatures, defying Muslim outrage.

February 2

The editor of the French newspaper France Soir is fired for printing the cartoons.

February 4

Syrians attack Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus.

February 5

Lebanese demonstrators torch the Danish embassy in Beirut, sparking Interior Minister Hassan Sabeh's resignation.

February 7

Hundreds of Iranians attack the Danish embassy in Tehran as Iran cuts trade ties with Denmark.

February 8

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo publishes the cartoons along with its own front page of Mohammed, lamenting fundamentalist violence, saying: "It's hard to be loved by imbeciles." French President Jacques Chirac condemns decisions to reprint the cartoons as "overt provocation".

February 9

Hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims in Lebanon protest during a religious ceremony.

February 10

Thousands protest over the cartoons outside a conference in Kuala Lumpur, in which Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi claims a huge chasm has opened between the West and Islam.

February 12

Denmark's foreign ministry urges all Danes to leave Indonesia over security fears.

February 13

A leading Iranian newspaper, the Hamshahri Daily, launches a cartoon contest about the Holocaust, to "test" the boundaries of free speech for Westerners.

February 14

Pakistani security guards shoot dead two protesters in Lahore.

British and German embassies in Iran and Basra city council in southern Iraq come under attack, amid calls for Danish troops to leave the country.

February 15

Three people die in the Pakistan cities of Peshawar and Lahore.

Italian government minister Roberto Calderoli says he is distributing T-shirts displaying the controversial cartoons.

February 17

At least 10 people are killed and several injured in Benghazi, Libya during a protest outside the Italian consulate.

Denmark temporarily closes its embassy in Pakistan over security fears and briefly recalls its ambassador. Pakistan makes 100 arrests.

February 18

Sixteen people are killed in attacks against Christians in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri.

Italian reform minister Calderoni resigns, sparking suspension of Libyan Interior Minister Nasr al-Mabrouk over the Benghazi rioting.

Police reportedly open fire at demonstrators in the eastern Pakistan town of Chaniot, injuring four.

February 19

Protest in Islamabad, Pakistan, in defiance of ban.

Tens of thousands of protesters march against Denmark, Israel and the United States, at a rally in Istanbul, Turkey.


February 6

Several Muslim groups take French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to court for publicly "insulting" Islam by publishing controversial Danish cartoons, Charlie Hebdo's director and editor-in-chief, Philippe Val, described the trial as a "witch hunt." Francois Hollande, then Socialist party secretary, and centrist presidential candidate Francois Bayrou also testified in favour of freedom of expression.

February 7

Letter read out in court from Nicolas Sarkozy, then interior minister, who said he preferred "too many caricatures to an absence of caricature".

The French newspaper Libération reprints the Mohammed cartoons anew.

March 22

The head of Charlie Hebdo, cleared of "racial insults" for publishing controversial Danish cartoons.

Court rules that Philippe Val is free to publish such cartoons, which it says targeted Islamic fundamentalists but not Muslims in general.

March 26

United Nations Human Rights Council adopts non-binding text proposed by Pakistan on behalf of Islamic states which "prohibits the defamation of religion", despite wide concerns that it could be used to justify curbs on free speech in Muslim countries.

July 13

Danish Muslim organisation loses a libel court case against the Danish People's Party for publicising the cartoon. The group, the Islamic Faith Community, threatens a fatwa against Jyllands-Posten unless the paper apologises.

July 18

Mizanur Rahman, 24, Umran Javed, 27, and Abdul Muhid, 24, are each jailed for six years for soliciting to murder after telling a crowd to bomb the UK.

Abdul Saleem, 32, is jailed for four years for stirring up racial hatred at the protest in 2006. The men are from London and Birmingham.


February 12

Danish police arrested several people suspected of planning to assassinate the cartoonist who drew the turban cartoon.

February 13

Several Danish newspapers, including Jyllands-Posten, reprint one of the cartoons.

March 19

A video allegedly from Osama bin Laden threatens the EU over the reprinting of the cartoon, which he claims is part of a "new Crusade" against Islam, in which he said the Pope has played a "large and lengthy role."


January 1

Mohamed Geele, a 28-year-old Somali Muslim intruder armed with an axe and knife enters Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard's house, screaming "You must die!" and "You are going to Hell!". He is shot and wounded by police.

Danish intelligence say he has links to Somalia's Islamist movement Al-Shabab.

September 8

German Chancellor Angela Merkel honours cartoonist Kurt Westergaard with M100 media prize for his "courage" to defend democratic values despite threats of violence and death.

December 29

Danish and Swedish intelligence services arrest five men for allegedly planning to "to kill as many of the people present as possible" in the Jyllands-Posten Copenhagen newsdesk.


February 3

Mohamed Geele, the Somali who broke into the home of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard is convicted of attempted murder and terrorism, and jailed for nine years.

February 17

"Day of Rage" in Libya and by the Conference for the Libyan Opposition, which turns into anti-Gaddafi rally but was initially to commemorate the 10 deaths in anti-cartoon demonstrations in Benghazi on 17 February 2006.

November 2

French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo's Paris offices are burned in an apparent arson attack on the day after it publishes an issue with the Prophet Muhammed as its "editor-in-chief". He is depicted on the front page saying: "100 lashes if you don't die of laughter".

All of this outrage and violence is the Muslim response to cartoons. And yet the media and our politicians continue to assure us that there is no conflict between Islam and Western values.


John 8:24 said...

There are a couple of things I just don't understand:

1) Why do Muslims react so violently and passionately defend depiction of Muhammad when Muhammad is only a prophet and not a deity? In the Ten Commandments in the Bible it is forbidden for those who believe to make image of God or worship an idol (Exodus 20:2) - and that makes perfect sense for we cannot reduce the creator to a created image.

2) If Muhammad is just a prophet like others before him why don’t Muslims protest depiction of other prophets like Jesus, Moses, Abraham & Adam? There are so many highly offensive depictions especially of Jesus but it apparently doesn’t seem to bother Muslims.

Koala Bear said...

And the moderates are their silent supporters while pretending to be friends with infidels.

Baron Eddie said...

@ All Muslim:

I am not in favor of these pictures but "Why are you attacking us" , we who live with you?

cc: To all government in the West

aaron said...

fascinating when they insult our religion they have no issue with it But when their prophet is used as a joke for western media, all hell breaks loose. I don;t find anything that insulting unless it was the bomb one. One thing a christian won;t do

D335 said...

Mohamed Geele exchanged nine years of solitary confinement with the title hero of Islam.

What he'll do next? come back and finish the job? he'll be a sheik!

and if he get shot? he'll be a martyr!

Peter said...

There is one thing (among many) that came before the publishing of the cartoons on september 30 2005.

Danish writer and journalist Kåre Bluitgen was writing a book called "The Qur'an and the life of the Prophet Muhammad".

It is a children's book containing a lot of the stories from Muhammad's life. The book is very neutral and certainly doesn't mock the prophet, but it doesn't glorify him either.

The writer Bluitgen tried to hire an illustrator for the book, but no one wanted to illustrate it. The illustrators said that they were afraid because of the murder of Theo van Gogh and because of other crimes committed by angry muslims.

That was the reason why the newspaper felt that they had to show that there is a real problem. A lot of people were already tired of the growing special treatment of muslims and the special sensitivity needed when speaking about islam.

To understand the situation in Denmark, you need to understand how Christianity is treated in debates. There has always been a very liberal tone in the debate, and Christianity has certainly been ridiculed numerous times (a long with other religions). In the 70's and 80's Danish provocative artist Jens Jørgen Thorsen used to depict Jesus with an erect penis. Some christians protested, but he wasn't fined or anything like that. If you want to see an example of his art then look here: So people in Denmark were used to being able to portrait religious topics in whatever way they wanted, even through outright provocation. And I think because of this openness there haven't been a lot of problems with people fighting over religion in Denmark. Therefore it was very strange when muslims began immigrating and the Danes suddenly had to change their way of life. And the way of life has been changed. Just two weeks ago some muslims decared "Sharia zones" in Denmark.

GreekAsianPanda said...

On Halloween this past Monday, my school had a costume contest. There was a sophomore who dressed up as Jesus (and I'm pretty sure he's a non-Christian, so it was obviously meant for mocking). No one harassed him, even though he was walking around in the costume all day.

Then he won third place in the contest.

No one firebombed his house.

Search 4 Truth said...

I often wondered why Muslims were not outraged when their were satirical and offensive drawings, modern art, cartoons etc, about Jesus when he is suppose to be a prophet just like Mohamed. But we all know the answer to that.

donna60 said...

Ultimately we are going to have to face the fact that our elected leaders would like us to be ruled by Sharia.

Think about how easy it would be to balance the budget if Sharia kept young women from bearing children and needing government assistance. Think about how cheap the probarte court system would be if Americans got our hands cut off for stealing.

Think about the social and economic costs the country could save if alcohol was outlawed-- Even I would like that.

In any case, both Prez Obama and Gov Christie both praise Islam, so the praise of Islam in our country is on both political sides of the street, and people besides me must surely be wondering why.

Usama said...

I don't know why Muslims hate us so much for publishing cartoons... It makes Muhammad look BETTER than he really is.

andy bell said...

Actually, I'm going to be serious for a moment. If my sources are correct, I believe the Illiterate Mad Arab (pbuh) forbade images of himself because he didn't want people worshiping him, instead of allah (fake). I think he did this in response to all the christians who were worshiping a graven image of Jesus.

I could be wrong, if someone has the right info..........

But in reality, it doesn't matter. Considering that muslims (beasts) worship the Arab sex machine (pbuh) while praying to him and going to his grave and leaving objects there.

Iconodule said...

Muslims sure love that iconclasm.

John 8:24 said...

Muslims at Occupy Wall Street - an interesting clip:

GreekAsianPanda said...

On the bright side, Bosnian imams recently condemned violence carried out in the name of Islam.

WhatsUpDoc said...

Thanks for having the courage to print these cartoons and we all should stick together as a family and defend our rights.

Baron Eddie said...


"Imams across Bosnia issued a rare joint message on Friday condemning violence in the name of Islam,"

Yes, it is good to read and hear that ... But

Could they put that message in writing and make a Fatwa and sign it ...

I don't think so ...

That is for public consumption ...

We have Muslims Clerics from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait issuing Fatwa to kill Syria's President because he is Alawee and considered to be a Kafir according to mainstream Muslims ...

Here is a spiritual Pilgrims at Mecca

I think those guys will joint with that message condemning violence in the name of Islam ...

Usama said...


They issued it due to "violence in the name of Islam" that is ENTIRELY VAGUE. If it were Sunnis who issued this "fatwa" I wouldn't be surprised if the ones who commit this "violence in the name of Islam" were SHIA according to their view. In fact, if you look at all so called "statements" of this flavor you'll find the SAME UNDERLYING THEME of blaming other Muslim sects who are not "Muslim" according to the other sect but who still commit their acts according to Islam and in it's name. In other words: it DOESN'T MATTER ONE BIT!!!

"Are they equal those who know and those who know not!?" (Qur'an 39:09)

Baron Eddie said...

I congratulate Muslims for their (Eid al-Adha) ...

Usama said...

After reading the article these Imams are ignorant of their religion and the people who wrote the article are equally so. There is no WAHAABISM. Wahhab is a SIFFAT OF ALLAH! Has nothing to do with a sect. It is an Islamic REVIVAL MOVEMENT just like Ibn Taymiyyah and Ahmad ibn Hanbal. This idea that Wahabism is a "sect" is a myth created by the media, Shia (yes, it's true Shia refer to Sunnis as Wahhabis, just look on YOUTUBE) and Orientalists who don't know anything about Islam, only about culture.

Peter said...


please don't call a person "moron", like you did, even when you disagree with someone. There's no need for that kind of language.