An Indonesian Muslim woman holds up a banner protesting against Denmark during a demonstration in front of the palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2005. They protested against the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.
ASSociated Press: Are Extremist Fanning Cartoon Outrage?
An Iranian state TV announcer depicts cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad as a direct insult to Islam by the Danish government, not a private newspaper. Crowds in Syria â€” where state control is absolute â€” set fire to Danish and Norwegian embassies. The U.S. military sees the hand of extremist groups in riots in Afghanistan.
As rage over the caricatures continues across the Muslim world, there are growing questions whether governments like Syria and Iran’s hard-line clerical regime and extremist groups like the Taliban are fanning the outrage.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that Iran and Syria “have gone out of their way to inflame sentiments and to use this to their own purposes. And the world ought to call them on it.” Iranian Vice President Isfandiar Rahim Mashaee, speaking to reporters during a trip to Indonesia, rejected the allegation Thursday as “100 percent a lie.”
Since the drawings were first published in a Danish paper in September â€” and reprinted in other European papers in the past weeks â€” protests and impromptu boycotts of Danish products have erupted in numerous Arab and Islamic countries.
Most have been non-violent. In Egypt, demonstrators â€” including ones from the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood â€” have gone out of their way to insist they are peaceful and aren’t angry at the Danish people, only the newspaper and the government for not taking a strong enough stance against the insult.
But in Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and Lebanon the protests have been more violent.
This August 14, 2005, file photo shows a costumed competitor in a French pig-squealing contest at an agricultural fair. It was circulated this week in a pamphlet purporting to show images offensive to Islam. The photo has no connection with Islam or the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published in a Danish newspaper in September. The Associated Press has protested this misleading usage and is demanding that distributors stop circulating it.
Why, of course these violent protests are organized.
Is the MSM finally noticing?
Iran’s government has been the most overt in characterizing the drawings as an organized effort to attack Islam.
The country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in a nationally televised speech that the cartoons were part of a “Zionist plot.” Mohsen Rezai, an official on the Expediency Council â€” a powerful body of hard-line clerics â€” said the drawings were a “test” by the West to see what Muslims’ reaction would be.
Iranian state media depict the drawings as an act of the Danish government, not a private newspaper. “After insulting Islam with the drawings, the government has not apologized yet,” one newsreader said in a television broadcast recently.
“It’s clear these reactions were supported by some political elements. Even state media alluded to the fact that European governments intentionally ordered the production of cartoons,” said Iranian political sociologist Hamid Reza Jalaipour.
He thinks the violent protests were payback for the U.N. nuclear watchdog referring Iran to the
U.N. Security Council over its nuclear program earlier this month.
In Syria, crowds set fire to Danish and Norwegian missions in Damascus. In a country where the government has absolute control, few believe the protesters could have pulled off such a brazen act without tacit government consent.
The next day, state-run media said the violence would not have happened “if Denmark had apologized” for the drawings.
State sponsored terrorism and state sponsored violent protests – what a coincidence.
Stay tuned as more of the story develops……
Muhammad Caricature Watch: Syrian Protesters Set Danish Embassy Ablaze Over Cartoon