French daily newspaper France Soir Wednesday reproduced the 12 caricatures named "Faces of Muhammad" that had been previously published by Danish Jyllands-Posten. This just one day after a bomb threat forced Jyllands-Posten—which already had apologized, although it maintained it was legal under Danish law to print them—to evacuate its offices. Also Tuesday, Interior ministers from 17 Arab countries asked the Danish government “to firmly punish the authors of these offences." Here is a report by the BBC:
France Soir said it had published the cartoons to show that "religious dogma"
had no place in a secular society. Their publication in Denmark has led to protests in several Arab nations. Responding to France Soir's move, the French government said it supported press freedom - but added that beliefs and religions must be respected. Islamic tradition bans depictions of the Prophet Muhammad or Allah.
Under the headline "Yes, we have the right to caricature God", France Soir ran a front page cartoon of Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian gods floating on a cloud. It shows the Christian deity saying: "Don't complain, Muhammad, we've all been caricatured here."
The full set of Danish drawings, some of which depict the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist, were printed on the inside pages.
The paper said it had decided to republish them "because no religious dogma can impose itself on a democratic and secular society."
As a believer, I cannot find it in my heart to laugh when people take the mickey out of someone else's religion (as well as other people because of their beliefs), but it is also an opinion of mine that “no religious dogma can impose itself on a democratic and secular society.”
[Hat tip: Norm]
UPDATE [Thursday, February 2, 4:55 pm]
France Soir's editor, Jacques Lefranc, has been dismissed by the paper's French Egyptian owner in response to criticism from Muslim groups (The Guardian, BBC).
UPDATE 2 [Thursday, February 2, 8:25 pm]
The BBC said it would broadcast the cartoons which have caused a storm of protest in the Islamic world and led to the sacking of a French newspaper editor. The cartoons include an image of the prophet Muhammad with a turban shaped like a bomb, and another showing him saying that paradise was running out of virgins. The BBC emphasised that the images would be broadcast "responsibly" and "in full context" and "to give audiences an understanding of the strong feelings evoked by the story".
[Hat tip: david t]
[This post was first published at windrosehotel.splinder.com on February 2, 2006]