Case Filed by Islamic Society in Denmark
(Copenhagen) With the backing of the International Committee for the Support of the Final Prophet (ICSFP), twenty-seven Muslim groups and the Islamic Society in Denmark have today taken out a writ against chief editor Carsten Juste and culture editor Flemming Rose of Jyllands-Posten. Judgment against both is sought for the publication of both text and cartoons which were gratuitously defamatory and injurious.
According to the writ, the cartoons depict the Prophet Mohammed as warlike and criminal, and a clear connection was made between the Prophet and war and terror. The cartoons in combination with the accompanying article carry a general accusation that Islam, and therewith the Muslim population, worships and practises these attitudes and actions. Accusations that Islam as a religion possesses these characteristics are therefore offensive – also to those who practice this religion. It is offensive to associate Islam with terror in this manner. “Islam neither practises the actions nor supports the viewpoints represented by the drawings,” stated ICSFP Chairman Ali Jomaa. “Therefore it was very important for our mission to aggressively challenge these publications though legal venues such as Danish civil courts,” he added.
The article accompanying the cartoons claimed that Muslims “must be prepared to find themselves the objects of sarcasm, mockery and ridicule”. This demonstrates that the cartoons were published solely to provoke and mock not only the Prophet Mohammed, but also the Muslim population. The cartoons and the text were thus intended to disparage Muslims in the eyes of others, which is a breach of paragraphs 267 and 268 of the Danish Criminal Code. It is submitted that the two persons against whom the writ was taken out should be sentenced to the severest possible penalty under these two paragraphs.
Michael Christiani Havemann, solicitor and barrister of the Supreme Court, who is conducting the case for the Islamic Society, emphasises that it would have been preferable from all points of view for the entire conflict to have been tested in a court case between the Crown Prosecution Service and Jyllands-Posten. “It is now necessary for the wronged parties to take all legal steps to obtain a court judgment – and not only a decision of the public administration - on whether Jyllands-Posten’s cartoons and article are legal. Apart from this, Denmark – because of the lack of a legal action – has been reported to the UN.”
“Jyllands-Posten has apparently adopted the mistaken view that everybody must accept being offended. The Public Prosecutor has clearly indicated that this is patently incorrect,” says Mr Havemann. “I also find that there are exacerbating circumstances in the newspaper’s behaviour and procedure. According to my information, the grossest of the cartoons – the one with the bomb – was drawn by the paper’s employed cartoonists, apparently on the instructions of management, because the cartoons drawn by freelance artists were not gross enough. If this is correct, it further supports one of our basic claims: that the object of the paper’s action was absolutely to mock a religious minority in Denmark.”
Ali Jomaa at email@example.com
Michael Christiani Havemann
+45 3345 4040 or +45 4030 2948