Arson and fire have marred Danish immigrant neighborhoods for the last several nights as Muslim youths from across Denmark riot. It is widely believed the riots were aggravated in large part by 17 Danish newspapers reprinting a controversial cartoon showing the Islamic prophet Mohammed wearing a bomb for a turban. The printing of the cartoon sparked similar riots in 2006.
If the cartoon is in fact the reason for the riots, the violence is failing to force politicians and those responsible for reprinting the cartoon to back down. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Sunday that the rioters should not expect any sympathy from society.
“I think it will be the opposite, that a lot of people will turn their backs on them,” Rasmussen said during an interview with Denmark’s tv2 news channel.
Demonstrations against the printing of the cartoon have also broken out in Pakistan, with dozens of Pakistani students burning the Danish flag in Karachi on Thursday.
Kuwaiti members of parliament are calling for a total boycott of Danish goods, while the Iranian parliament has demanded an apology from Danish officials.
The Danes are not ready to back down over the issue, however. Ten Danish lawmakers have cancelled a planned trip to Iran. “The Iranian parliament had demanded an apology of the Danish parliamentary delegation, which they of course cannot accommodate,” Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller said in a statement.
The Danish newspapers reprinted this controversial cartoon fully aware of the riots Islamic leaders whipped up around the world after its first printing in 2005. The reprinting is a deliberate statement by Europeans that Islamists will not dictate what they can or cannot print. The tensions between Europe and the Islamic world are escalating toward a clash of civilizations. In the face of increasing Islamic rage, expect Europe to strengthen its stance against Islam. ▪