A year ago today the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published the 12 infamous Motoons. The Guardian marks the occasion with an article in which it is revealed that, while many Muslim nations boycotted Danish products causing a drop of 15.5% in sales to those countries, exports to the USA rose by 17%, which more than made up the difference.
Both the Danish PM, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and the Jyllands-Posten stood admirably firm throughout the crisis in their refusal to apologise for the publication. In an upcoming book by Per Bech Thomsen entitled “The Mohammed Crisis – what happened”, Rasmussen says:
The believers, no matter of what religion, cannot demand that others outside their believers’ circle should observe their rules of conduct, order, dogma and doctrines that apply to the individual believer.
The book also contains interviews with some of the original 12 cartoonists, 10 of whom still have not reappeared in public.
One thing is certain. The effect of the Muslim reaction four months later ensured that those 12 cartoons were reproduced in the press all over the world, and spawned several websites devoted entirely to displaying pictures of Mohammed in varying degrees of humiliation. It also resulted in the deaths of 139 people.
The BBC report on this anniversary asks “has Denmark learned its lesson?”
It is not Denmark who has lessons to learn.