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Syrians Burn Danish, Norwegian Embassies

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    See updated photos at: http://news.yahoo.com/photos/ss/events/wl/020106danishcartoons See especially the censored in Denmark, Norway and Sweden Reuters photo
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2006
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      See updated photos at:


      See especially the censored in Denmark, Norway and Sweden Reuters
      photo below:

      Muslim and left-wing demonstrators take part in an anti-Nazi protest
      in Hillerod, Denmark February 4, 2006. More than 100 demonstrators
      were arrested during the protest. NORWAY OUT DENMARK OUT SWEDEN OUT NO
      THIRD PARTY SALES REUTERS/Lars Moller/Scanpix

      and the following photos:

      Syrian demonstrators participating in a protest burn the Norwegian
      flag outside the burning Norwegian embassy in Damascus February 4,
      2006. Furious Syrians set fire to the Danish and Norwegian embassies
      on Saturday as protests over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad showed
      no signs of abating despite calls for calm. REUTERS/Handout

      Muslim protesters chant slogans and wave placards during a
      demonstration in front of the Danish embassy in London, Saturday, Feb.
      4, 2006. Hundreds demonstrated outside Denmark's embassy in London on
      Saturday to condemn the publication of cartoons considered insulting
      to the Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Akira Suemori)

      Greek-Orthodox priests take part in a demonstration in protest of
      offensive caricatures of Islam's prophet in Gaza City Saturday, Feb.
      4, 2006. Hundreds of Palestinians marched through the streets of Gaza
      City on Saturday, storming European buildings and burning German and
      Danish flags to protest cartoons deemed insulting to the Prophet
      Muhammad. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)


      The following letter was sent to the Canadian Broadcasting
      Corp. website (cbc.ca) in response to their coverage of
      Muslim community response in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada)
      to the rash of racist cartoons recently reproduced in
      European news media deliberately directed against Muslims:

      "Your online report of the Halifax rally-demonstration on
      Birmingham Street on Saturday 4 Feb 2006 contains the
      following passage:

      'The satirical depictions of the Prophet have spurred days
      of demonstrations throughout the Middle East and elsewhere
      by Muslims, who were offended because Islamic law forbids
      any depictions of Muhammad in order to prevent idolatry.'

      "Clearly these 'depictions' were not received in the
      'satirical' spirit your report implicitly ascribes to their
      author(s). This raises the question: by what logic, then,
      can you call them 'satirical'?

      "These cartoons are offensive NOT because of anything
      'Islamic law forbids', as your report ludicrously suggests,
      but because they smear the conscience of 1.2 billion Muslim
      believers. They are also deeply racist. Moreover, they were
      re-published at a critical and very revealing moment: NATO
      troops, including 2000 Canadians, are stepping up their
      infliction of 'collateral damage,' i.e., slaughter, on
      Afghani civilians in the name of "rooting out scumbags", as
      Canadian Chief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier so
      felicitously put it some months back.

      "These cartoons, and especially the diversionary
      'controversy' whipped up around them, prepare an atmosphere
      in which further such genocidal assaults throughout the
      Muslim world by the US and NATO can be rationalised . How
      'satirical' indeed, as we all convulse in hilarity at the
      onset of World War Three."

      Here is the CBC's online article:

      Muslims rally in Halifax over Muhammad caricatures
      Last Updated Sun, 05 Feb 2006 00:42:14 EST
      CBC News


      A crowd of about 200 Muslim protesters rallied in front of
      Denmark's consulate in Halifax on Saturday, angered by a
      Danish newspaper's publication of editorial cartoons of the
      Prophet Muhammad.

      The satirical depictions of the Prophet have spurred days
      of demonstrations throughout the Middle East and elsewhere
      by Muslims, who were offended because Islamic law forbids
      any depictions of Muhammad in order to prevent idolatry.

      In one of the most violent incidents, Syrian protesters set
      fire to the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus on

      The protesters in Halifax demonstrated peacefully on the
      sidewalks outside the consulate.

      Although women were lined up on one side of the street and
      men on the other, their messages were the same: freedom of
      speech in any country should have limits.

      "Freedom, yes! Insult, no!" protesters shouted during the
      demonstration, which lasted about an hour.

      They said they were deeply upset by the caricatures, which
      were first published in Denmark in September, then
      reprinted in other European countries. One of the cartoons
      that drew the most criticism depicts Muhammad with a
      turban-shaped bomb on his head and some protesters said
      they were offended by the implication that all Muslims were

      "I feel insulted about who I am and that's not right," said
      Ali Duale.

      Duale said one of the main reasons for holding the protest
      was to try to educate more non-Muslims about their faith.

      "Most of the people, they can not picture why someone would
      get this much upset just seeing a picture. The point is not
      the picture," he said.

      "The point is, people, they don't know what will hurt us
      and how much it will hurt us. And this is one of the
      reasons we are here today."

      The Danish consulate was closed at the time of the protest,
      which caused no disruptions to local businesses or traffic.

      Also in reaction to the publication of the cartoons, a
      handful of Muslim-owned stores across the country have
      joined an international boycott of products from Denmark.


      European media publish anti-Muslim cartoons:
      An ugly and calculated provocation
      4 February 2006
      World Socialist Web Site

      The World Socialist Web Site unequivocally condemns the publication by
      a series of European newspapers of defamatory cartoons depicting the
      Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist and killer. These crude caricatures,
      intended to insult and incite Muslim sensibilities, are a political
      provocation. Their publication, initially by a right-wing Danish
      newspaper with historical ties to German and Italian fascism, was
      calculated to fuel anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment.

      The decision of the right-wing Danish government to defend the
      newspaper that initially published the cartoons, and of newspapers in
      Norway, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands,
      Switzerland, Iceland and Hungary, both conservative and liberal, to
      reprint them has nothing to do with freedom of the press or the
      defense of secularism. Such claims make a mockery of these democratic

      The promulgation of such bigoted filth is, rather, bound up with a
      shift by the European ruling elites to line up more squarely behind
      the neo-colonial interventions of US imperialism in the Middle East
      and Central Asia. It is no accident that it occurs in the midst of the
      ongoing slaughter in Iraq, new threats against the Palestinian masses,
      and the preparations to launch sanctions, and eventual military
      aggression, against Iran.

      It is, moreover, a continuation and escalation of a deliberate policy
      in Europe, spearheaded by the political right and aided and abetted by
      the nominal "left" parties, to demonize the growing Muslim population,
      isolate it, and use it as a scapegoat for the growing social misery
      affecting broad layers of the working class.

      In the name of the fight against terrorism, governments throughout
      Europe are implementing repressive measures that target, in the first
      instance, Muslim and other immigrant populations, while preparing the
      ground for the destruction of the democratic rights of the working
      class as a whole. These police state preparations go hand in hand with
      an offensive against the jobs, wages and living standards of working
      people and an ever-greater concentration of wealth in the coffers of a
      wealthy and privileged minority at the top.

      One does not have to uphold Islam, or any other religion, to
      sympathize with the indignation of Muslims around the world who have
      expressed their outrage at the racist drawings flung in their face by
      media outlets that claim to be defending Western secularist values
      against the dark hordes from the East.

      On Friday, protests against the publication of the cartoons spread
      across the Middle East, northern Africa and Asia, with thousands
      demonstrating in Iraq, tens of thousands in the West Bank and the Gaza
      Strip, and some 50,000 filling a square in Khartoum, the capital of
      Sudan. Muslims also protested in Britain and Turkey.

      The events that have led up to the present confrontation make it clear
      that the publication of the cartoons was a political provocation. The
      Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, which first published twelve caricatures
      of Mohammad on September 30, supports the right-wing government headed
      by Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen—a government that includes in
      its coalition a rabidly anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim party.

      In the 1920s and 1930s, Jyllands-Posten was infamous for its affinity
      for Italian fascism and the German Nazi dictatorship. In 1933, it
      argued for the introduction of a dictatorship in Denmark.

      Last September, the newspaper asked forty cartoonists to draw images
      of the Prophet Muhammad, something that is proscribed by Islamic law
      as blasphemous. Spelling out the provocative and inflammatory aim of
      this exercise, the chief editor said its purpose was "to examine
      whether people would succumb to self-censorship, as we have seen in
      other cases when it comes to Muslim issues."

      The newspaper proceeded to publish twelve drawings. These included a
      cartoon showing the Prophet Muhammad wearing a turban in the shape of
      a smoking bomb, another with Muhammad on a cloud in heaven telling an
      approaching line of suicide bombers that he had run out of virgins
      with which to reward them, and a third depicting the prophet grinning
      wildly, with a knife in his hand and flanked by heavily-veiled women.

      In October, Prime Minister Rasmussen refused to meet with the
      ambassadors of eleven predominantly Muslim countries who had requested
      a meeting to discuss their objections to the cartoons. Setting the
      tone for the ensuing developments, Rasmussen declared that the
      cartoons were a legitimate exercise in press freedom, and implied that
      there was nothing to discuss.

      The affront was stepped up when a Norwegian magazine published the
      drawings in January. Denmark continued to ignore protests by Danish
      Muslim groups and other Muslim organizations until the end of January,
      when Saudi Arabia and Syria recalled their ambassadors from Denmark
      and the Saudi regime initiated a consumer boycott of Danish goods.

      Only when the boycott spread and the Danish company Arla Foods, the
      second largest dairy producer in Europe, announced that its Middle
      Eastern sales had completely dried up, did the Danish government and
      Jyllands-Posten issue statements of regret, while defending the
      decision to publish the cartoons.

      This week the simmering controversy exploded when the French newspaper
      France Soir republished the cartoons. Defending its printing of the
      drawings in an editorial on Thursday, the newspaper's editor wrote:
      "Enough lessons from these reactionary bigots."

      Other newspapers in France, including the liberal Libération, followed
      suit, printing some or all of the ugly cartoons. Le Monde, for its
      part, ran a sketch of a man, presumably Mohammad, made up of sentences
      reading, "I must not draw Muhammad."

      The German newspapers Die Welt, Die Tageszeitung, Tagesspiegel and
      Berliner Zeitung, the Dutch papers Volksrant, NRC Handelsblad and
      Elsevier, Italy's La Stampa and Corriere della Sera, Spain's El
      Periodico and two Dutch-language newspapers in Belgium were among
      those that published some or all of the cartoons over the past several

      In Britain, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 all showed some of the cartoons
      on television news broadcasts.

      An indication of the political forces and motives behind the deluge of
      racist caricatures was the decision of Geert Wilders, a member of the
      Dutch parliament who has proposed a law that would ban women from
      wearing burqas, to post the cartoons on his web site "as a token of
      support to the Danish cartoonists and to stand up for free speech."

      Among those European politicians and government officials who have
      sprung to the defense of the Danish government and the media outlets
      that published the images is French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.
      With quintessential cynicism, the man who helped incite last year's
      anti-police riots in the largely Muslim immigrant suburbs of France by
      referring to their inhabitants as "scum" and "gangrene" has now
      adopted the mantle of press freedom to support yet another attack on

      The absurd attempt to give this anti-democratic assault a democratic
      veneer is exemplified by Sarkozy, who authored the current state of
      emergency that has gutted civil liberties in France. The French
      government of Sarkozy and President Jacques Chirac set the precedent
      for such anti-Muslim attacks by imposing—with the support of the
      Socialist and Communist parties and the "far left" Lutte Ouvrière
      (Workers Struggle)—a ban on Muslim girls wearing head scarves in the
      public schools. This overt attack on religious freedom in general and
      the rights of Muslims in particular was likewise passed off as a
      defense of secularism and the "enlightened" values of the French Republic.

      The real content of the supposed crusade for secularism and press
      freedom was shown in the first wave of mass deportations of French
      Muslims under a law championed by Sarkozy in the aftermath of last
      year's riots. The law provides for the summary deportation of all
      foreigners who are indicted—not convicted—of crimes. Hundreds of youth
      were arrested by Sarkozy's riot police during the disturbances, and
      these are now threatened with being shipped out of the country.

      The new Grand Coalition government headed by Angela Merkel has
      likewise called for stronger measures to evict foreigners from German

      The foreign policy interests behind the anti-Muslim attack were
      indicated by the Netherlands' announcement of plans to send additional
      troops to help police Afghanistan for US imperialism.

      On Friday, the US State Department issued a statement opposing the
      publication of the cartoons. "These cartoons are indeed offensive to
      the belief of Muslims," said a department spokesman, adding, "We fully
      recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression, but it must
      be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic
      hatreds in this manner is not acceptable."

      This intervention is entirely hypocritical, coming from a government
      that has sought repeatedly to muzzle the American press and has waged
      a brutal attack on Muslims within the US. The Bush administration has,
      in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, spearheaded the
      assault on Muslims around the world, using the so-called "war on
      terrorism" as the pretext.

      Washington's "respect" for the beliefs of Muslims was exposed before
      the eyes of the world in the pictures of sadistic abuse of prisoners
      at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where military and intelligence
      officials employed tactics designed to exploit Muslim beliefs and

      The official US response to the publication of the cartoons is largely
      motivated by immediate concerns over the impact the provocation could
      have on Washington's imperialist operations in Iraq, Iran and elsewhere.

      Some who defend the publication of the cartoons claim they are
      examples of satire—as though crude appeals to the basest and most
      bigoted impulses can be equated with genuine social or cultural
      criticism. In fact, the images plastered on the pages of European
      newspapers and broadcast on television news programs have far more in
      common with the type of anti-Semitic caricatures made infamous by the
      Nazis than they do with satire.

      That such outpourings can have anything to do with a struggle for
      secularism in opposition to religious belief is absurd. A genuine
      critique of religion can be conducted only on the highest intellectual
      level, appealing to science and reason—not ignorance and fear.

      The current episode reveals the enormous dangers facing the working
      class from the visible decomposition of democracy in all of the
      capitalist countries. The promotion of anti-Muslim chauvinism, and all
      forms of communalist and nationalist poison, is the expression of a
      social system that is mired in insoluble crisis and incapable of
      meeting the most basic needs of the broad masses of the people.

      The only antidote to such backward and reactionary politics is the
      development of a united movement of workers of all countries,
      religions and nationalities in opposition to war and in defense of
      democratic rights against the capitalist ruling elites and the system
      they uphold. The program upon which such a struggle must be based is
      socialist internationalism.



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