Muhammad Cartoon Redux: Danish Party Threatened by Palestinian Militants
A right-wing Danish political party has been threatened by the Palestinian terror group al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade for using an image of the Prophet Muhammad in its campaign literature. The party wanted to show its commitment to free speech.
A member of the al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade at a January protest in the West Bank.
Al-Jabbari warned that the al-Aqsa Brigade, considered a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States, may add the party to the "list of enemies."
The newspaper advertisement used what the xenophobic party claims to be a "400-year-old drawing" of the Prophet Muhammad to emphasize the party's "commitment to free speech," party spokesman Kim Eskildsen told SPIEGEL ONLINE.
"We were just trying to say that we are not bound by Islamic law," Eskildsen said. "You have to understand that if there is a prohibition against drawing Muhammad's likeness, then it is only valid for Muslims. If we obey these random rules imposed by an ancient religion -- that is not good."
'Every Party Is Populist'
Chaired by Pia Kjærsgaard, the Danish People's Party (DF) is a nationalist party that is highly critical of immigration and multi-culturalism. It took 13.3 percent of the vote in the 2005 elections, making it the country's third largest party. The party is polling slightly below that ahead of next week's vote -- with Anders Fogh Rasmussen's coalition leading with 35 percent support ahead of the Social Democrats with 25 percent.
So was the ad a last ditch effort to gain support? "Every party is populist during a campaign," Eskildsen said. "We aren't racist. We just talk about issues that are taboo like integration and restricting immigration."
Aside from the single threat from the Palestinian militants, there has been little reaction to the ad and the party said it was not taking additional security precautions.
Still, the potential for escalation remains. The violent reactions in early 2006 came weeks after the 12 caricatures -- including one showing Muhammad wearing a time bomb instead of a turban -- were originally published. Numerous Scandinavian embassies were attacked across the world and Danish products were boycotted in numerous Muslim countries.
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