Denmark condemned for mishandling cartoon crisis

The Danish government has been condemned in an official report for its mishandling of the cartoon crisis sparked by the publication of 12 caricatures that lampooned Prophet Muhammad in the Danish mass-circulation paper Jyllands Posten in September.

“The government’s management of the Muhammad (cartoon) affair was a bigger problem than the caricatures themselves and the prime minister … should have entered into dialogue with the Muslim ambassadors,” said the government-sanctioned study, a copy of which was obtained by Jyllands Posten, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen refused in October 2005 to meet with 11 ambassadors from Muslim nations who had asked to see him in a bid to nip a looming crisis in the bud.

The study said that the Danish government has not proved forthcoming and responded negatively to Muslim bids to break the standoff. “Denmark, in practice, did not want dialogue,” said the Danish university researchers who wrote the study. “It did not acknowledge the points of view of the other party (Muslim nations) and … saw being open to dialogue as compromising its own values.”

Danish Muslim leaders had taken pains to settle the crisis, but they were given the cold shoulder by the government. They then took their case to the Muslim world, embarking on a multi-leg Arab tour that outraged the government which accused them of “internationalizing” the issue and inciting anti-Danish hatred.

Islam Online, 26 May 2006