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Last September, Danish author Kare Bluitgen was set to publish a book on the Muslim prophet Muhammad, but there was just one catch: he couldn’t find an illustrator.

Artistic representations of the human form are forbidden in Islam, and pictures of Muhammad are especially taboo so three artists turned down Bluitgen's offer to illustrate the book for fear that they would pay with their lives for doing so.

Frants Iver Gundelach, president of the Danish Writers Union, decried this as a threat to free speech and the largest newspaper in Denmark, Jyllands-Posten, responded. They approached forty artists asking for depictions of Muhammad and received in response twelve cartoons of the Prophet.

The cartoons were first printed in the Danish newspaper in September 30, 2005. Then a Norwegian magazine reprinted the cartoons in January 10, 2006, followed by many other magazines, newspapers and online site.. See a full list here

Then some Muslim leaders in Denmark presented a case against the newspaper, but the judge refused to consider it because it is not against the law!
Then newspapers in Norway, France, Spain, Germany and Austria reprinted them for supporting what they call "Freedom of Speech"!

The European Union supported Denmark in its refusal to apologize to Muslims under the allegations of democracy and freedom of speech.

In February 2006 the Embassy of Denmark was attacked and burned in both Damascus and Beirut.

That was the beginning of several violent response by muslims across the world to the cartoon and the Danish government refusal to take action.


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Last Updated 03/07/2006