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In12 Danish cartoonists controversially drew pictures of Muhammad at the urging of Flemming Rose, the culture editor of the Danish weekly Jyllands-Posten.

This news story from The Comics Journal April offers a multitude of perspectives — from cartoonists, Danes, Muslims, Danish Muslims — and is being rerun to help supply context for the Charles Hebdo killings. As a result, the Journal is in the rare position of reporting on events that can scarcely have escaped the attention of anyone on the planet.

Readers are accustomed to finding the comics field covered in greater depth by the Journal than by other sources of comics news, especially mainstream media, but for once, we had to ask ourselves what the Journallacking a Middle Eastern or European bureau, could add to a story that seemed to have been pursued around the world from every conceivable angle.

Via television, newspapers, magazines, radio and the Internet, the publication of the cartoons and the wrath of offended Muslims were reported, the economies, cultural attitudes and immigration policies of Denmark, France and Europe in general were explored, the religious doctrine and history of Islam were explained and debated, Danes were profiled, Muslims were analyzed, and opinions were expressed, ranging from the need for calm Comic fire holland muslim strip patience to the need for righteous execution and dismemberment.

It was a story that could not help but perpetuate itself. Since the event was essentially a figment of the Comic fire holland muslim strip to begin with, born in the pages of a newspaper, its very coverage — each new fair-use publication of the cartoons — engendered new stories, like aftershocks that spread and then rebounded upon themselves. The cartoons were so charged with power that most papers reported on them without reproducing them. But even that omission became news of a sort, evidence of a betrayal of free speech by those reticent papers and their host countries.

Ultimately, the story was like an out-of-control fire that only reached its limits when it was brought up against an even larger fire as extremist Muslim factions turned their rage on other Muslims in Iraq in a series of violent sectarian attacks.

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The cartoons were finally displaced from headlines by events that threatened to explode into a civil war in Iraq. By that time, it seems safe to say that literally thousands of stories had appeared in the various media about those 12 Danish editorial cartoons and their repercussions.

By and large, though, these stories tended to focus on updates of the latest riot or the latest public statement by a world figure, and when there was no news to cover, then a particular piece of tangential turf was staked out: How has Muhammad been depicted through the ages?

What are Danish attitudes toward Arab immigrants? What does the local Imam think about it all?

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Coverage in the Middle East seemed to see the Danish cartoons as Western provocation, an insult on top of a history of injuries to the nation of Islam, and debate centered on whether to defend Muslim pride by violent or nonviolent means. In the West, there was disagreement over whether publication of the cartoons was an appropriate use or an inappropriate abuse of the principle of free speech, but, in its simplest formulation the conflict, as represented in the West, boiled down to one of free speech however misguided versus violence and religious censorship.

In considering what the Journal could add to such a massive media response, we realized that the one thing the Journal had that the other reports lacked was time and the perspective that comes with time.

Whether simply updating events or focusing on some related angle, coverage of the Danish cartoons has been on the fly: As much as we each have been bombarded by the Danish cartoons story, we have inevitably been exposed to it in fragments. What the Journal has tried to do is assemble an overview and synthesis of the events of the story, as well as the many ways of looking at what it all means.

Now that events Comic fire holland muslim strip related to the cartoons seem to have wound down, we can chart the arc of events that led up to and followed publication of Comic fire holland muslim strip cartoons. We have also searched far and wide to collect in one place a range of voices interpreting and commenting from various perspectives on the cartoons and their aftermath. Finally, we have considered what these events have to tell us about the power of cartooning to capture and convey convictions and ideas, whether benign or dangerous.

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Twelve pictures — 12, words. Though the story exploded in the media and in the streets early this year, it actually originated back in September when Flemming Rose, the culture editor of the Danish weekly Jyllands-Postenconcluded that publishers were self-censoring themselves by Comic fire holland muslim strip Muslim religious taboos as to what can be shown and what cannot. Muslim prohibitions against idolatry have been interpreted by some to forbid the rendering of any image meant to represent the prophet.

Rose issued a challenge to 40 artists in Denmark to draw a cartoon featuring Muhammad. A total of 12 of them responded with a mix of lighthearted sketches and satirical comment.

His Japanese and Italian translators were stabbed, the former, fatally; and his Norwegian publisher shot.

And then there was the murder a year or so ago of the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, killed by an Islamic fundamentalist for harshly Comic fire holland muslim strip fundamentalism. Some of the cartoons turned out to be caricatures because this is just in the Danish tradition. We make fun of the Queen, we make fun of politicians, we make fun of more or less everything.

This was not directed at Muslims. I wanted to put this issue of self-censorship on the agenda and have a debate about it. The traditions of Islam prohibit artistic representations of any of the prophets — whether Muhammad, Jesus, Moses or Abraham. In some of the strictest branches of Islam, not even the human form can be depicted.

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Since the aim is to prevent idolatry, however, it would seem to be a prohibition directed specifically at good Muslims. Moreover, Islamic tradition on the matter is not as ironclad as some who have cited it as a reason for protesting the cartoons would have us believe.

Muhammad has appeared through the centuries in hundreds of paintings, drawings and other imagery both in the West and in Islamic countries without a word of complaint in the Muslim world.

In any case, idolatry can scarcely be an issue in the case of the Danish cartoons, which are far from idolizing their subject. It is in fact the very irreverence of the images that clearly accounts for much of the anger expressed by Muslims. From a certain perspective not entirely unfamiliar even Comic fire holland muslim strip our own country, comics and cartoons have traditionally been considered comical and instruments of ridicule. Beyond the generic defamation that being the subject of a Comic fire holland muslim strip might entail, some of the cartoons carried a satirical bite.

Some of them played off the violence lately committed in the name of Islam. One shows Muhammad wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with its fuse smoldering. We have run out of virgins!

One location where all 12 cartoons can be found. Unflattering portrayals, no question, but hardly the first time unflattering pictures of the prophet have appeared in the West.

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Nor was there much outrage expressed initially to the Danish cartoons. At first, apparently the only objections to the cartoons came from the Danish Muslim community shortly after the publication of the 12 cartoons on Sept. A peaceful demonstration involving 3, Muslims took place Oct. The protesters, reacting to what they saw as a xenophobic, if not racist, expression of discomfort with the Muslim population in Denmark and a public equation of the Muslim religion with acts of terrorism, demanded an apology.

The paper rebuffed the demand. Three days later in Egypt, the Cairo weekly newspaper Al Fagr published the cartoons, and three Egyptian magazines did the same — all to little effect, apparently. The newspaper initially refused to apologize, citing its longstanding policies: Our right to say, write, photograph and draw what we want to within the framework of the law exists and must endure — unconditionally!

Satire is accepted in this country, and you can make caricatures. The prime minister, while resolutely defending the independence of the Danish Comic fire holland muslim strip, explained to the Muslim ambassadors that they were not without recourse. The embassies evidently applied to the courts on Nov.

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A spokesman for the group said: By then, the Danish cartoonists were in hiding, having received death threats, and the Danish prime minister had introduced a bill to stiffen penalties for those convicted of threatening and harassing people who, in the exercise of their legal rights, make statements about such topics as religion. The dossier contained the original 12 cartoons. But at least three other images had been added.


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