'Cartoons misjudged, Islamists misused them' | india | Hindustan Times
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'Cartoons misjudged, Islamists misused them'

The Danish paper that first printed the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed misjudged how they would be read and Islamic extremists misinterpreted them, the OSCE representative on freedom of the media said in a report sent to AFP on Friday.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 03:00 IST
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The Danish paper that first printed the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed misjudged how they would be read and Islamic extremists misinterpreted them, the OSCE representative on freedom of the media said in a report sent to AFP on Friday.

As a result of the "misinterpretation and violence" it was now "almost impossible to debate the issues freely," Miklos Haraszti regretted. "Our deliberations are taking place in an atmosphere of intimidation," he said.

Haraszti said he believed the editors of Danish paper Jyllands-Posten had decided to publish the cartoons in September 2005 "without any intent to express or incite religious hatred" but rather as a "critique vis-à-vis extremist misuse of the teachings of Islam".

They did so after the publishers of a children's book on the Prophet Mohammed were unable to find illustrators for it, not because of "a voluntary observance of the Islamic ban on depicting the Prophet but (because of) physical fear".

Unfortunately, they chose to make their point about democratic culture "in a form that for most believers made it indistinguishable from a critique on Islam itself", he said.

This "misjudgement" came about not only because they thought the cartoons "did not talk about Muslims but also because they thought they did not talk to Muslims", Haraszti reasoned.

"Their goal was misunderstood by good-willing Muslims around the world and it was deliberately misinterpreted by ill-willed jihadist propagandists," he concluded.