‘Toon rage update: Iraq enters fray as Norway apologises

(AFP via Yahoo) Both Shiite and Sunni clerics in Iraq have joined the chorus of righteous condemnation against the Mohammed cartoons published first by Jyllands-Posten in Denmark, and then by a couple of mags in Norway.

Raging in his mosque in a Shiite district in Baghdad, Sheikh Hazem al-Aaraji described said,

They want to disfigure Islam and this we cannot accept. These cartoons directly attack the personality of the messenger of God. We say to them: they cannot attack Mohammed, nor any of the prophets […]
Mohammed is the symbol of humanity. He is not dead, he lives always among us through his teachings and through the sacred book

After the sermon, a crowd of about 100 charged through the neighourhood chanting “there is no god but God, and Mohammed is his prophet” and “Jews, the army of Mohammed and Ali will return.”

Meanwhile, an email memo to Norwegian embassies has been leaked which reveals that Norway’s government is trying to make amends by “apologising”:

I am sorry that the publication of a few cartoons in the Norwegian paper Magazinet has caused unrest among Muslims. I fully understand that these drawings are seen to give offence by Muslims worldwide. Islam is a spiritual reference point for a large part of the world. Your faith has the right to be respected by us.

The cartoons in the Christian paper Magazinet are not constructive in building the
bridges which are necessary between people with different religious and ethnic backgrounds. Instead they contribute to suspicion and unnecessary conflict.

Let it be clear that the Norwegian government condemns every expression or act which expresses contempt for people on the basis of their religion or ethnic origin. Norway has always supported the fight of the UN against religious intolerance and racism, and believes that this fight is important in order to avoid suspicion and conflict. Tolerance, mutual respect and dialogue are the basis values of Norwegian society and of our foreign policy.

Freedom of expression is one of the pillars of Norwegian society. This includes tolerance for opinions that not everyone shares. At the same time our laws and our international obligations enforce restrictions for incitement to hatred or hateful expressions.

(from Brussels Journal)
Denmark made similar noises last month, but that clearly wasn’t enough for the Saudis, Jordanians, and Iraqis who are continuing to pursue the matter. Many regard both the Danish and Norwegian apologies as examples of spineless “dhimmitude”, but in fact it is the minimal diplomatic response they could give. Simply wafting a few apologetic-sounding platitudes (we’re sorry you were offended) does appear to appease the hotheads temporarily. Indeed, the Danish apology was greeted with a certain amount of triumphalism by Turkish newspaper.

However, it is not enough to calm them indefinitely. Neither Denmark nor Norway have actually done anything concrete in response to the protests. As this fact dawns on the fundamentalists, their demands become ever more shrill and unacceptable. In this respect, even the apologies were probably misguided.

(Hat tip: The Pub Philosopher)

UPDATE: Now Libya has closed its embassy in Copenhagen.

7 Responses to “‘Toon rage update: Iraq enters fray as Norway apologises”

  1. Andy A says:

    Well, it seems to have brought together Sunni and Shia – I thought they split up after ‘I Got You, Babe’.

  2. Monitor says:


  3. G. Tingey says:

    Re: Norway’s apology:
    Vidkun Qislin LIVES!

  4. Shaun Hollingworth says:

    Why has their faith the “right” to be respected ?

    Should I respect people for believing the earth is flat, or the moon is made out of cream cheese ? Or that father christmas really does go down the chimney ?

  5. tom p says:

    Just thinking about this, 2 of Denmark’s principal exports, according to the US department of State, at any rate are medicines, which I’d’ve thought it unlikely to be boycotted, both on common sense grounds and also because they’ll probably be badged under a local seller’s packaging; and pork products, which, and I concede that I may be way off the mark here, I reckon are unliely to be greatly hit by a Muslim boycott. Other principal exports include furniture (unlikely to be in an Arabic style) and windmills (not really necessary in oil-exporting countries).
    Denmark is self-sufficient in energy, so these countries can’t really do use their sole weapon to harm it anyway.

    They should just tell ’em all to fuck off and have done with it.

  6. […] In related news, AFP (via MediaWatchWatch) reports that With fiery sermons and raucous demonstrations, Iraqis called for an investigation into Danish and Norwegian publications carrying cartoons deemed offensive to the Prophet Mohammed. […]

  7. Riki says:

    Is Mohammed such a wimp that he needs to be defended by a bunch of zealots 24/7 ?? The irony is that he probably would have laughed at the cartoons himself. Anyone who reacts with violent anger over perceived attacks on their
    faith, doesn’t have any to start with!! Long live freedom
    of expression!!