Northern Light

Danish Muslims call for fatwa against Jyllands-Posten

Islamic Society of Copenhagen can’t accept the secular laws of Denmark, and therefore they plan to seek support in the Middle East for a fatwa against Jyllands-Posten, if the newspaper is acquitted in a pending civic case, which a number of Muslim organizations has initiated against the paper, and if the European Human Rights Court also makes a decision that goes against the legal demands of the Muslims.
This is tomorrows top story in Jyllands-Posten.
”Until now nobody has had to answer for insulting our prophet. We have no choice but to ask for a fatwa,” says Kasem Ahmad, spokesman for Islamic Society, referring to the publication of the 12 cartoons of Mohammed in Jyllands-Posten September 30, 2005.
In November and December 2005 Islamic Society sent delegations to the Middle East deliberately giving false information about the situation for Muslims in Denmark, and bringing along offensive cartoons that were never published in any newspaper. Angry and violent demonstrations followed, 140-200 people were killed, most in Nigeria, Danish embassies were attacked and set on fire, and a region wide boycott of Danish product was initiated.
Jyllands-Posten was acquitted in the city court of Aarhus last year, but the Muslims have appealed the decision to a higher court.
The Muslims have sued the paper’s editor-in-chief Carsten Juste and me for defamation. Anything but acquittal will be a sensation, and the same goes for the European Human Rights Court, which in recent years have widened the limits of acceptable speech. Islamic Society has said that they also want an apology from the paper. In a similar case in France the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was aquitted in March after having published two of Jyllands-Posten’s cartoons and one of their own.
Apparently, Islamic Society don’t want to accept that the cartoon crisis is a thing of the past.
”No Muslim will ever forget that the prophet was insulted,” says Kasem Ahmad.
He adds that Islamic Society has well established contacts with clerics in the Middle East, and that Arab media will be contacted in order to put focus on the issue. At the time of the cartoon crisis Islamic Society was headed by the radical imam Abu Laban, a strong supporter of Osama bin Laden and in favor of establishing a Taleban-like Caliphate in the Muslim world. For a long time he was perceived as a moderate by the authorities. Abu Laban passed away this year and his place has been taken by Mostafa Chendid.
In March the new imam was interviewed by the Danish weekly Weekendavisen. At that time a fight was going on between the city council of Copenhagen and a group of young people who illegally had occupied a building bought by a Christian sect. Mostafa Chendid then called on the young people to respect the law and leave the building. That answer prompted the reporter to ask the imam, if he and his fellow Muslims then shouldn’t accept the verdict in the case against Jyllands-Posten that said, that it was legal to publish the 12 Mohammed cartoons.
”Next question. I don’t want to discuss it anymore. I am just saying that there are exceptions from every rule. And if these cartoons have insulted 1,4 billion Muslims, then…”
What can I say?
Islamic Society is basically notifying the public: we do not accept secular law, we want the sharia imposed, and if you don’t obey, we will take our case to clerics in the Muslim world to pass a legitimate verdict against the blasphemers.
An unveiled threat. Will supporters of secular law meet the challenge?
Friday the city court of Lyngby will make public its verdict in a defamation case initiated by Islamic Society against Pia Kjærsgaard, leader of the People’s party, who at the height of the cartoons crisis in January 2006 called member of Islamic Society “traitors”.