Anti-Prophet cartoons deliberate provocation: expert

The Danish caricatures which showed Prophet Muhammad as a stereotypical fundamentalist would fuel the sense of persecution among young Muslims in the country, a Danish expert warned on Thursday, November 10.

“The cartoons seem to have been a deliberate move by the newspaper to provoke Muslim sentiment in a totally legal manner,” Bjorn Moller, a senior research fellow at the Danish Institute of International Studies told The Christian Science Monitor.

Twelve drawings depicting Prophet Muhammad in different settings appeared in Denmark’s largest circulation daily Jyllands-Posten on September 30. In one of the drawings, he appeared with a turban shaped like a bomb strapped to his head.

Moller said the public expressions of racism are increasing, citing one right-wing member of parliament who compared Denmark’s Muslim community to cancer.

“Things which people wouldn’t have been allowed to say a couple of years ago are now being said openly,” Moller added. It’s becoming more socially acceptable to use that kind of language and that’s bound to alienate Muslims and create fanaticism.

“A growing number of people see being a Dane and being a Muslim as incompatible,” Moller added.

Moller said the right-wing Danish People’s Party, the country’s third largest, is behind controversial government attempts to stabilize Denmark’s growing Muslim community at no more than 10 percent of the total 5.5 million population.

“The emphasis is rapidly becoming to keep out as many people as possible, regardless of whether they’ve been tortured or persecuted,” he said.

Islam Online, 10 November 2005