Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Before the Storm

Part 4 of Random Platitude's cartoon row dissection is up.

In it, our Danish lecturer and historian details the last few months before the Muhammad cartoon fury exploded in earnest. Before the story made international headlines, there was a debate within Denmark about the Prime Minister's refusal to meet with a cadre of Muslim diplomats about the cartoons. Politicians were pitted against politicians—with some accusing the PM of siding with Jyllands-Posten (remember, according to Jytte Klausena, a Danish journalist, the paper is affiliated, if unofficially, with the Danish ruling party).

Half a world away, Fatah militants were seizing on the cartoon issue as a way to legitimize their sagging political standing in the Palestinian Authority by attacking EU interests in Gaza. Jyllands-Posten offered an open apology the next day, which was accepted by the Danish Muslim Association. Sadly, it was too late. The cartoon crisis had a life of its own.

More of this fascinating insider's perspective is promised in Part 5.
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