Muslim Action Committee

Sunday, March 19, 2006

UN: Denmark Acted Irresponsibly in Cartoon Crisis By Hasan Cucuk, Copenhagen Published: Sunday, March 19, 2006

The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, which prepared a report about the cartoon crisis, breaking out after the publication of insulting images of Prophet Muhammad, accused the Danish government of acting irresponsibly during the crisis period.
UN Higher Commissioner Louis Arbour’s special reporter Doudou Diene made harsh criticisms in his report about the Danish government and intellectuals along with the Danish daily Jyllands Posten, which published the blasphemous images first. The report stressed that “beliefs should not be humiliated under the veil of freedom of expression” as it dwelled on the importance of fighting against Islamophobia.
Diene remarked that xenophobia and taking sides before Islam reached an “alarming” level in Denmark with the publication of the insulting images admitting that, “When political leaders do not fulfill their responsibility about xenophobia and insult to religion, Europe has entered a path, which will confirm the thesis of “clash of civilizations”. The reporter emphasized that Jyllands Posten daily attacked Muslim believers by “showing Islam equal to terrorism”, which is an old prejudice and it acted under the veil of auto-censorship and freedom of expression. “The cartoons are absolutely insulting” said the reporter as he directed his criticisms towards the Anders Fogh Rasmussen government, which did not fulfill its responsibility. Diene’s report highlighted the violation of international agreements by the Danish government guaranteeing freedom of expression and respect to thoughts and beliefs.
The UN report said the Danish government had to make decisions against the cartoon crisis for its international responsibility and responsibility to 200,000 Muslims in the country. It also noted that the Danish Government’s lack to show sensitivity for insulting religions and Islamaphobia as it showed against anti-Semitism was dreary. Emphasizing the cartoon crisis arose in Denmark due to rising xenophobia, the UN report stated Jyllands Posten stands against tolerance and supports the clash of civilizations. The Senegalese reporter said “Their defense that freedom of speech is limitless contradicts international rules. There is a great need to establish a balance between freedom of speech and freedom of faith. This publication explicitly shows a lack of understanding and emotion for believers. The newspaper also helped Islam and terror to be likened.”
Danish intellectuals were criticized in the report. The UN reporter emphasized that it was wrong to divide the world into two as secular and modern society on the one side and undeveloped Muslims on the other. The reporter addresses UN at the end of his report and called it to struggle against Islamaphobia and insulting religions. It also demanded repercussion for people who see Islam equal to terrorism.

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