Fresh Controversy in Denmark: Newspapers Republish Muhammad Cartoons
After the arrest this week of three men who wanted to kill a Danish cartoonist, about a dozen papers in Denmark have republished the infamous Muhammad cartoons. Some observers notice a sea-change in Denmark's integration debate since the 2006 riots in the Muslim world.
It was hard to read a newspaper in Denmark on Wednesday without seeing the cartoons.
Reaction from Muslim leaders was mixed. "There could have been other ways to do it without the drawing, which I personally do not like," said Abdul Wahid Petersen, a moderate imam, according to the Associated Press.
"We are so unhappy about the cartoon being reprinted," said Imam Mostafa Chendid, head of the Islamic Faith Community, which led Danish protests against the cartoons in 2006. "No blood was ever shed in Denmark because of this, and no blood will be shed. We are trying to calm down people, but let's see what happens. Let's open a dialogue."
But a Muslim politician in Denmark, 44-year-old Naser Khader, told SPIEGEL ONLINE that something palpable had changed in the Danish political climate over the past two years. "Of course there's a fear of a new crisis; Islamists are unpredictable," he said. "And in some Muslim countries the people have not forgotten the Muhammad cartoons."
"The crisis didn't hurt integration," said Khader, "it opened doors for us -- and in Denmark things have improved quite a bit in the meantime."
This position chimes with a SPIEGEL ONLINE interview published Tuesday with the editor of Jyllands-Posten, the paper that first published the Muhammad cartoons in late 2005. Flemming Rose, who commissioned the cartoons, said the debate over integration in Denmark is "far more fact-based than it used to be."
With reporting by Anna Reimann
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