Northern Light

On trial in Jordan

April 22 a court in Amman, Jordan opened a trial aganist the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and 12 Danish editors including myself. Our offense: republication of Mr. Westergaard’s iconic cartoon of the prophet with a bomb in his turban. We are charged with blasphemy – the victimless crime – for having offended the prophet (who died almost 1400 years ago) and for having inflicted divisions upon Jordan’s society.

If convicted we can be sentenced to three years in prison, and the iniators behind the case have said that if this happens they will ask Interpol for our extradition so we can serve the sentence behind bars in Jordan.

It sounds crazy and it certainly is, but Jordan does have the backing of the UN Human Rights Council that has passed several resolutions calling on governments around the world to pass laws banning any criticism and satire dealing with Islam and other religions, as they phrase it.

Just to remind you: The UN Human Rights Council is the highest ranking body in the world endowed with the task to protect human rights.

The funny thing is that Jordan is prosecuting Danish editors and cartoonists. It would be of more relevance and to the point, were they to bring charges against Al Arabiya, the Arabic tv-station broadcasting by satellite to the Muslim world. Last year Al Arabiya broadcasted the documentary ”Bloody Cartoons” which shows Mr. Westergaard’s cartoon.

Or what about other newspapers that published the very same cartoon?

The answer is obvious. This has from the very beginning been a political case aimed at teaching Denmark and other possible ”offenders” a lesson. It has very little do to with insulting the prophet. It is about power politics.