Our Danish correspondent TB has translated this lead editorial from yesterday’s Jyllands-Posten:
Editorial: Islamic injustice
It looks like a big joke: A leading prosecutor in a Middle Eastern state is preparing a case which has as its goal to convict 10 or 11 Danish editors.
The plan, in his exotic brain, is that the Danish editors shall be arrested by Interpol, turned over to the Middle Eastern state, and suffer the punishment which has been decided by the Islamic court of law.
The whole scenario is so idiotic that it initially brings about a mere quiet shake of the head — maybe also in the Danish Foreign Ministry.
Nevertheless, this is about an actual state, namely Jordan, and it is about an actual person, namely a chief prosecutor, who is actively preparing for such a trial.
To the correspondent from Kristeligt Dagblad [daily newspaper in Denmark] he states: “I cannot know what the judge will decide, but I see an absolute opportunity that the judge will ask Interpol to help arrest the Danish editors”.
What kind of madness!
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There have been previous instances in which states run by despotic leaders with a relaxed relationship to both jurisprudence and human rights go through with such trials, which result in the conviction of foreign citizens in absentia. It is usually motivated by domestic reasons — a self-made enemy is a good means to keep a tyrannized population quiet and lead its frustrations and aggressions in what is, for the ruler, a more comfortable direction.
Meanwhile, contrary to the insanity of the situation, the Danish Foreign Ministry should make it clear to the rulers in Jordan that inside their own borders they can of course behave just as idiotically as they see fit, but that such an insane trial never will have any influence on other countries nor on other countries’ citizens.
Maybe, at the same time, the Foreign Ministry could calmly announce to the Middle Eastern dictatorship that one would like them not to interfere at all in internal Danish affairs, including what Danish editors print in their newspapers.
In the current case it is about the Danish security service that revealed concrete murder threats against Jyllands-Postens cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
These potential murderers thought, according to the Danish intelligence service, that the artist had deserved a ferocious fate because of his creation and publication of a certain drawing.
In full accordance with Danish law, Danish press ethics, and Danish newspaper tradition, 17 Danish papers republished the drawing — several of them along with other drawings made in the same connection.
It is bad form in Jordan, and peace be upon that. At least in this connection.
But the fact that a public prosecutor in Jordan is preparing a legal proceeding to punish another country’s citizens for an act that would have been punishable in Jordan but which is certainly not in the home country goes beyond the limit of insanity and can to begin with only bring about an intense laughter.
Secondly, however, we have to acknowledge that it is a serious matter. It is unheard of that such a dictatorship should want to interfere in internal Danish affairs, and an eventual sentence in absentia could motivate other madcaps to try to go through with what Interpol, of course, neither can nor will do.
Therefore, among other reasons, the Danish Foreign Ministry should react with the grave concern and determination that this case deserves, in contrast to the undisguised madness.
We have learned from the Mohammed crisis and other events that openly rattling insanity has to be met with more concern than objectively seems warranted.