Yesterday the newly established network of moderate Danish Muslims urged Danish imams, who insist Muslims are being treated badly in Denmark, to move to other countries with societies more in harmony with their own view on the world. “If these imams think it is so terrible to live in Denmark, then why do they remain here?” Naser Khader, the leader of the network and a member of the Danish Parliament for the Social Liberal Party (Radikale), said in an interview with the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten.
“After all no one is forcing them to [live in Denmark]. They can always move to one of the countries in the Middle East which are based on the Muslim values they insist on living by. It seems that their loyalty is mainly to countries such as Saudi Arabia, so I think they should move there. I am tired of hearing them complain about the situation in this country which has given them shelter, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and tons of opportunities for their children. If they cannot be loyal to the values of this country they should leave and by that do the majority of Danish Muslims a big favour. The imams should stop critizising the cartoons and instead critizise the terrorists that cut the throats of innocent hostages in the name of Allah and therefore abuse Islam. But on such occasions we never hear a word from them. Hence, they are hypocrites.”
Meanwhile the radical imams have been exposed as liars, saying one thing to the Western media and exactly the opposite to the Arab press. In the Western media they call for an easing of tensions, while at the same time they keep inciting hatred in the Arab media.
Imam Abu Laban, the leader of the radical Danish Muslim organizations protesting the cartoons, said on Danish TV2 that he urged the Muslim world to abandon the boycott of Denmark, but told Al-Jazeera that „one could only be pleased“ with the boycott. Imam Abu Bashar told Jyllands-Posten that the cartoon affair was an issue between Muslims and the newspaper and not between Muslims and the Danish government. However, in the Saudi newspaper Al Watan he critizised the Danish government for not apologizing for the cartoons. Imam Mahmoud Fouad Al-Barazi said at a meeting with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen that he wanted to advance better integration, but in an interview with the Egyptian daily Al Ahram criticized Danish kindergartens for “indoctrinating” Muslim children with Danish culture.
Yesterday the Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet, which had previously critizied Jyllands-Posten for publishing the Muhammad cartoons, honoured Jyllands-Posten with an award in defence of freedom of expression. The Danes are shocked by the ransacking and torching of their embassy in Damascus, the capital of Syria, which is one of the Arab totalitarian dictatorships where people do not lift a finger without permission from the regime. The Danish Foreign Minister, Per Stig Møller, said that the behaviour of the Syrian government is totally unacceptable. It had actively incited unrest. On Saturday the Danish ambassador in Damascus asked the Syrian authorities several times for protection, but received none.
In London, too, during the past two days, extremist Muslims have been staging protests in front of the Danish embassy. Depite carrying signs like “Behead those who insult Islam” and “Whoever insults a prophet kill him,” despite being masked, despite calling for suicide bombings, despite extolling the virtues of the 9/11 hijackers, Bin Laden, and the “fantastic 4” who bombed the London subway last July, none of the protesters were arrested. The only arrests were two counter-protesters who held up cartoons of Muhammad. Perhaps the latter were arrested for being disrespectful? On Friday the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw had said that showing Muhammad cartoons was “disrespectful.”
Yesterday Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister of would-be European Turkey, said that freedom of expression should be restricted. “The cartoons of Muhammad are an assault on our spiritual values. There must be a limitation on freedom of the press,” he said. The president of would-be nuclear Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ordered all trade agreements revoked with countries where the Muhammad cartoons have been published. Some time in the future, he might launch nuclear missiles at them. An imam in Gaza City told 9,000 worshippers that the people responsible for the drawings should have their heads cut off. He received the support of Mahmoud Zaher, one of the leaders of Palestine’s largest party Hamas. Mr Zahar said that those who publish cartoons of Muhammad deserve to die.
The Danish illustrators who drew the original twelve cartoons have received numerous death threats during the past days and are reported to be in hiding under massive 24 hour police surveillance. Muslim organizations in France intend to sue all French media which have published cartoons of the prophet. This includes the newspapers France Soir and Le Monde. The editor of France Soir was sacked this week by the paper’s owner. Yesterday the staff of France Soir demanded that he be reinstated. In the Netherlands the Dutch daily De Volkskrant received a bomb threat after publishing the cartoons earlier this week. The Dutch Prime Minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, said that people who object to the publication of the cartoons should take the case to court. “We have freedom of expression here. There is no room for threats and for people who want to play the role of judges,” Mr Balkenende said. The cartoons have been republished from Greenland to New Zealand.