Muslim Action Committee

Friday, March 17, 2006

From the Times online: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2090914,00.html

Danish Muslims sue over Muhammad cartoonsBy Jenny Booth and agencies
Danish Muslim groups are to report Denmark to the UN Commissioner on Human Rights for failing to prosecute the newspaper that first published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

The 27 Muslim groups also plan to sue the newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, for defamation in a Danish court, according to their lawyer, Michael Christiani Havemann.
"Denmark is obliged through the UN to secure the civil rights of its citizens," Havemann said by telephone. "The national prosecutor won’t pursue the case and, therefore, acts as a barrier to justice to the complainants."
Henning Fode, Denmark’s director of public prosecutions, announced on Wednesday that he would not charge Jyllands-Posten, ruling that the drawings it published last September did not violate Denmark’s laws against blasphemy and racist speech.
Mr Fode said that the cartoons could be considered an affront to the Prophet, but did not break Danish law. The prosecutor’s decision prompted the Foreign Ministry to upgrade its travel warnings for Danes traveling in Muslim countries from Algeria to Malaysia
The cartoons, one of which shows Muhammad wearing a turban shaped like a bomb, were reprinted by media worldwide in January and February, and sparked a wave of protests around the Islamic world.
Protesters were killed in some of the most violent demonstrations, a number of Arab countries broke off diplomatic relations with Europe, and several European embassies were attacked. A boycott on Danish goods started in Saudi Arabia on January 26 and spread to dozens of Muslim countries.
Sunni Muslim tradition bans any image of the Prophet, since depicting him risks insulting him or encouraging idolatry.
Mr Havemann said that he would file the complaint within weeks to the Geneva-based human rights commission. "We think we have a good case," he said.
Protests against the cartoons have yet to die down. Today more than 20,000 supporters of a radical Islamic group held a peaceful rally in eastern Pakistan, accusing their Government of being "soft" on the West over the controversy.
"The government should have taken a hard stance against those countries where these cartoons were published to insult our beloved Prophet Muhammad," said Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the leader of Jamaat al-Dawat group.
The Pakistan Government recently put Mr Saeed under house arrest for several days to stop him from leading rallies against the cartoons, after five people died in violent protests last month.

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