For once, it's not American or Israeli flags burning in the sands of the Middle East. The cross of Denmark is aflame and "Death to Denmark" is a chant commonly heard from the Gaza Strip to Pakistan.
My, my, what has the Scandinavian country, well known for its social liberalism, done to inflame the Muslim world?
They exercised their civilized Western right to free speech. Those evil Danes!
In September, the Copenhagen-based newspaper Jyllands-Posten published an editorial cartoon depicting the Islamic prophet Mohammed with a time-bomb in place of a turban on his head. In response, Saudi Arabia boycotted Danish goods and recalled its Danish ambassador and Libya has closed its embassy in the Danish capital. Ministers from most Muslim countries have threatened punitive action in one form or another. And, as could be easily predicted, Islamofascist terrorists are issuing fatwas and promising a jihad against Denmark.
Without bending over backwards, Denmark has tried to smooth things over. But a recent poll found that the great majority of Danes feel they have nothing to apologize for. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen did suggest to Jyllands-Posten that they should apologize, but has refused to offer his contrition on behalf of the Danish people. And recently, in an act of solidarity with their Danish counterparts, papers across Europe have reprinted the offending cartoon, specifically France, Germany, Spain, Italy and The Netherlands. A Norwegian magazine was the first to republish the cartoon last month.
Jyllands-Posten's editor-in-chief, Carsten Juste, recently apologized: "These cartoons were not in violation of Danish law but have irrefutably offended many Muslims, and for that we apologize."
The most relevant phrase is These cartoons were not in violation of Danish law. A free-thinking, independent, Christian-secular country has the right to exercise its freedom of speech and thought without answering to anyone. Of course the Muslim world, for which freedom in any form is anathema to their way of life, doesd not understand this.