The Cartoons They Can’t Stand

Why did the Danish newspaper publish the Muhammed cartoons? BBC News explained.

“The Danish newspaper that originally published the cartoons commissioned them after the author of a book about Islam said he was unable to find a single person willing to provide images of the Prophet.

The newspaper’s culture editor, Flemming Rose, says he did not ask the illustrators to draw satirical caricatures of Muhammad. He asked them to draw the Prophet as they saw him.

Rose has insisted that there is a long Danish tradition of biting satire with no taboos, and that Muhammad and Islam are being treated no differently to other religions. He also argues that the images have raised the profile in Denmark of a debate on integration of religious minorities.

The newspaper editors who have republished the cartoons say they are defending the right to free speech and acting in solidarity with the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten.

Has Muslim reaction to the cartoons been uniform? Not at all – some Muslims have accused protesters of overreacting.

A weekly newspaper in Jordan reprinted some of the cartoons and urged Muslims to “be reasonable”. Websites produced by and for Muslims have shown the cartoons or linked to them. One liberal website said Muslims were making a mountain out of a molehill.”