Mohammed cartoons book may refuel Muslim anger

Tensions between Denmark and the Muslim world could be reignited as the man who approved the controversial Mohammed newspaper cartoons prepares to publish a book. Several experts believe that the book, Tavshedens tyranni (Tyranny of Silence), by the culture editor of Jyllands-Posten, Flemming Rose, could place the country even further into the firing line of the already disgruntled Muslim community.

The text, which is due for release on 30th September, will republish all 12 drawings of the holy Muslim prophet Mohammed that sparked outrage among believers when they were printed in the Danish newspaper in 2005. As a consequence, the Danish flag was burnt and Danish products were boycotted in Muslim countries across the globe.

In 2008, three people were arrested on suspicion of plotting to kill one of the cartoonists, Kurt Westergaard. Tensions were still running high in January this year, when he was accosted at home by a man with an axe. In addition, plans to bomb Jyllands-Posten’s head office in Copenhagen were recently admitted by one of the men behind the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.

American terrorism expert Evan Kohlman has warned that reprinting the drawings could cause problems. “If I were him [Flemming Rose], I would very seriously consider the consequences of reprinting the cartoons,’ Kohlman said in an interview with Politiken.

Denmark’s ambassador to Algeria, Ole Wohlers Olsen, said he understands the importance of free speech, but added, “every time the drawings are reprinted, there are riots and demonstrations – and also bloodshed.”

Rose, however, says his intension is not to provoke more Muslim anger. “I’m just telling the story of the drawings and putting them in a context about pictures that can be offensive,” he said. He also claimed that there would be uproar if he omitted the images from the publication.

According to the Copenhagen Post, another book on the subject by Westergaard, the cartoonist who drew Mohammed with a bomb for a turban, is also due out in November. It is not yet known, however, whether the artist’s memoirs, Manden bag Stregan (The man behind the drawing), will reprint the controversial sketch.

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