Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy
The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy began after the Danish newspaper published 12 editorial cartoons on 30 September 2005. Islam has a strong tradition of aniconism, and it is considered highly blasphemous in most Islamic traditions to visually depict Muhammad. The issue received prominent media attention in some Muslim-majority countries, leading to protests across the world in late January and early February 2006.
About Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy in brief
The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy began after the Danish newspaper published 12 editorial cartoons on 30 September 2005. Islam has a strong tradition of aniconism, and it is considered highly blasphemous in most Islamic traditions to visually depict Muhammad. This, compounded with a sense that the cartoons insulted Muhammad and Islam, offended many Muslims. The issue received prominent media attention in some Muslim-majority countries, leading to protests across the world in late January and early February 2006. Some escalated into violence, resulting in more than 250 reported deaths. The Danish tradition of relatively high tolerance for freedom of speech became the focus of some attention. The controversy ignited a debate about the limits of freedom of expression in all societies, religious tolerance and the relationship of Muslim minorities with their broader societies in the West. In the years since, jihadist terrorist plots claiming to be in retaliation for the cartoons have been planned—and some executed—against targets affiliated with Jylland- posten and its employees, Denmark, or newspapers that published the cartoons and other caricatures of Islamic prophets, most notably the Charlie Hebdo shooting in 2015. The incident came at a time of heightened political and social tensions between Muslim majority countries and Western countries, following several, high-profile radical Islamic terrorist attacks. The conflict came to symbolize the discrepancies and idiosyncrasies between the Islamic community and the rest of society. It was seen as evidence of self-censorship from Islamists out of fear of violence from Islamists, which led to much debate in Denmark.
The story gained some traction, and some major Danish newspapers reported the story the following day following the refusals from these first three artists to participate in these first two cartoons. On 16 September 2005, Danish news service Ritzau published an article discussing the difficulty encountered by the writer Kåre Bluitgen, who was initially unable to find an illustrator prepared to work on his children’s book The Qur’an and the life of the Prophet Muhammad. One artist agreed to assist anonymously; he said he was afraid for his and his family’s safety. According to the film director Theo van Gogh, one artist declined due to the murder of the director in Amsterdam a year before the attack at the Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Copenhagen; another cited the attack on a lecturer at the University of Copenhagen in October 2004; he was assaulted by five assailants who opposed his reading of the Qur’an during a lecture. On February 12, 2006, Danish newspaper Politiken stated that they had asked to put them in touch with them, and that they were seen to be the first artists to do so. The Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen described the controversy as Denmark’s worst international relations incident since the Second World War. Some groups responded to the intense pro-aniconist protests by endorsing the Danish policies, launching \”Buy Danish\” campaigns and other displays of support for free of expression. The cartoons were reprinted in newspapers around the world, both in a sense of journalistic solidarity and as an illustration.