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Under the guise of free speech, a leading Danish newspaper published a dozen provocative anti-Islamic cartoons clearly designed to offend Muslims. The predictable result has greatly increased the possibility of violence and left Denmark in a costly and dangerous predicament.
Four months after Jyllands-Posten (JP), Denmark's most widely read morning paper, published 12 anti-Islamic cartoons, Danes woke up to the fact that there is a very high price to be paid for promoting the "clash of civilizations."
The fact that the editors behind the anti-Islamic images claim to be exercising free speech while refusing to address Europe's strict censorship laws regarding discussion of the Holocaust and the ongoing imprisonment of historical revisionists reveals the existence of a more sinister agenda behind the provocative cartoons.
"Agents of certain persuasion" are behind the egregious affront to Islam in order to provoke Muslims, Professor Mikael Rothstein of the University of Copenhagen told the BBC. The key "agent" is Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of JP, who commissioned cartoonists to produce the blasphemous images and then published them in Denmark's leading morning paper last September.
The International Herald Tribune, which reported on the offensive cartoons on January 1, noted that even the liberalism of Rose had its limits when it came to criticism of Zionist leaders and their crimes. Rose also has clear ties to the Zionist Neo-Cons behind the "war on terror."
Rose told the international paper owned by The New York Times that "he would not publish a cartoon of Israel's Ariel Sharon strangling a Palestinian baby, since that could be construed as 'racist.'"
Asked why he was protecting Sharon, a known war criminal, while abusing Muslims and their Prophet in the name of free speech, Rose told American Free Press that he had been "misquoted" in the Times article.
Rose traveled to Philadelphia in October 2004 to visit Daniel Pipes, the Neo-Con ideologue who says the only path to Middle East peace will come through a total Israeli military victory. Rose then penned a positive article about Pipes, who compares "militant Islam" with fascism and communism.
In April 2003, President George W. Bush nominated the rabid anti-Muslim Pipes to the board of the United States Institute of Peace, a congressionally sponsored think tank dedicated to "the peaceful resolution of international conflicts."
Ministers from 17 Muslim nations condemned the publication of the cartoons as an egregious "offence to Islam" and called on the Danish government to ensure that it would not be repeated.
When the Danish government, which supports the "war on terror" with more than 500 troops in Iraq, refused to issue an apology for the offensive cartoons, Muslim consumers across the Middle East began a boycott of Danish products.
Within days the boycott had severely affected Danish exporters and the politicians in Copenhagen scrambled to undo the damage. Arla Foods, a large Danish-Swedish dairy company, was badly hit by the boycott. The company, which had annual sales of some $480 million in the Middle East, saw its sales in the region plummet to nil as Muslim shopkeepers pulled Danish products off the shelves.
"We have taken 40 years to build up a very big business in the Middle East, and we've seen it come to a complete stop in five days," company spokeswoman Astrid Gade Niels told the BBC.
"Our sales in the Middle East have come to a complete stop - in all countries in the region," she said. "We have found ourselves in the middle of a game that we have no part in."
As the boycott damaged Danish business and a bomb scare closed the office of his newspaper, Rose continued to defend his decision to commission and publish the offensive cartoons. "We stand by the publication of these 12 cartoons," he said.
Asked if he would have done it knowing what the reaction would be, Rose said: "That is a hypothetical question. I would say that I do not regret having commissioned those cartoons and I think asking me that question is like asking a rape victim if she regrets wearing a short skirt Friday night at the discotheque."
The dangerous "game" that was started by the Danish editor has now been picked up by at least 7 newspapers across Europe. Supposedly in support of the Danes, papers in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland simultaneously reprinted the cartoons on February 1. The timing suggests that this response was coordinated by a hidden hand.
In Paris, for example, Arnaud Levy, editor-in-chief of the financially-strapped France-Soir, chose to print all 12 of the offensive cartoons. Asked if there had been coordination between European editors about the simultaneous publication of the cartoons, Levy said, "Absolutely not."
The following day, Jacques Lefranc, managing editor of France-Soir, was fired by the paper's owner Raymond Lakah, an Egyptian magnate, according to employees. Chief editor Levy, however, remained on the job.
Peter Mandelson, Trade Commissioner for the European Union, strongly reprimanded the newspapers for pouring "oil on the fire" by reprinting the offensive cartoons.
Robert MÃ©nard, secretary general of Reporters without Borders, a Paris-based media monitor, however, supported the publication of the blasphemous cartoons saying, "All countries in Europe should be behind the Danes and Danish authorities to defend the principle that a newspaper can write what it wishes to, even if it offends people.
"I understand that it may shock Muslims, but being shocked is part of the price of being informed," he told The New York Times.
However, when it comes to discussion of the Holocaust, media monitors like MÃ©nard accept without question the government-imposed censorship laws and imprisonment of historical revisionists. At least 4 well known historians are currently in prison in Germany and Austria for writing and speaking about the Holocaust.
There is clearly a more sinister reason why the Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen refuses to issue a formal apology as demanded by Arab and Muslim governments. The hard-line position taken by Rasmussen, an ally in the "war on terror," has more to do with advancing the "clash of civilizations" than defending free speech in Europe.
It is well known that Islam is an aniconic religion which prohibits depictions of the Prophet in the same way that the Second Commandment prohibits "graven images." The European editors are certainly aware of the fact that Islam prohibits the use of icons or visual images to depict living creatures and that it is blasphemous to publish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Yet, they have recklessly and intentionally insulted millions of Muslims and are unwilling to apologize.
"The Danish paper set out to offend and provoke outrage in the Muslim community," a Muslim in Britain wrote to the BBC. "Muslims are able to distinguish between those who wish to debate and those who wish to insult. Trying to camouflage insults under the guise of debate or free speech fools nobody."
There is a deeper reason behind the publication of the offensive cartoons. Given the unapologetic position taken by the Danish government and the editors it appears very likely that tension with Islamic nations will increase and the international crisis will deepen. This is, after all, exactly what the global planners behind the "clash of civilizations" want.
The completely predictable reaction among Muslims sets the stage for violence and "false-flag" terror attacks as Europeans prepare to host the Olympics in Turin, Italy. The Turin-based La Stampa irresponsibly published the cartoons on Feb. 1, two days after Milan's Corriere della Sera.
The anti-Islamic cartoon scandal is no laughing matter. If and when a terror attack does occur and the cartoons and angry Muslims are blamed for being the cause, the reason they were published will become clear. Europeans will become increasingly polarized and hostility to Islam will grow.
A month ago, when I first became aware of the provocative anti-Muslim cartoons published in JP, I immediately contacted the editors and asked why they had allowed their newspaper to be dragged into such a ridiculous and provocative situation.
With Europe already involved in two Middle Eastern wars and with the political tension with Iran increasing daily, I asked the editors, "Do you truly wish to antagonize Muslims?"
"I support freedom of speech and am against self-censorship," Rose, who commissioned the cartoons, wrote in response. It was, however, clearly not simply to exercise Denmark's non-existent freedom of speech that Rose commissioned the anti-Muslim cartoons. The more sinister motive of advancing the "clash of civilizations" among Europeans was evidently behind the offensive images.
"If the issue is really one of free speech, would you publish cartoons making fun of the Jewish Holocaust?" I asked Rose and the editors. "If not, do you at least support the right of newspapers and individuals to raise historical questions about the Holocaust?"
Yet after a month of correspondence with Rose and the editors, they have completely avoided answering my questions about the Holocaust and the right of free speech for historical revisionists in Europe.