I reported last night about the legal action mounted by a Saudi law firm — at the behest of Mohammed’s descendants — against the Danish newspapers that published Kurt Westergaard’s famous “Turban Bomb” cartoon.
A Danish newspaper industry association, acting on behalf of major dailies, is now swinging into action and will consult with the government about the issue. Our Danish correspondent TB has translated an article on the topic from today’s Ekstra Bladet:
DDF gets into Muhammad case
The Organization of Danish Dailies (DDF) will consult the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice after Saudi Arabia demanded an unconditional apology for the drawing.
DDF now get involved the latest incident of the Muhammad crisis, and will, during the coming week, make contact with both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice, the CEO of the organization Ebbe Dahl states.
A Saudi lawyer demanded in a letter sent to about twelve Danish editors that they should by the end of September publicly regret and apologize for reprinting the controversial cartoon of the most well-known Muslim prophet back in February 2008. The reprint followed the revelation of murder plots against the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
The papers in a huge set-up must publish an unconditional apology in four languages —Arabic among others — because they have apparently hurt the feelings of the alleged descendants of the prophet Muhammad, the lawyer Faisal A.Z. Yamani from Jeddah demands. He suggest that it will damage Danish interests in the Middle East if the editors-in-chief do not obey. They must also promise that they will never again publish similar drawings or other material about the prophet Muhammad.
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On Monday, Ebbe Dahl will try to get an overview of how many editors have been contacted by Mr. Yamani and whether the letter is authentic.
“Everything will be studied, and it is clear that we, in a case like this, will have to talk to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice. But I have not opened the case for them yet since we need to have an overview first,” Ebbe Dahl says.
Concerning the matter, however, he describes the demands from Saudi Arabia as “clearly unacceptable” and he has no doubt that the papers will stand as firm and united as the last time when they decided to reprint the famous drawing last year on February 13.
“It is a completely natural thought that you as a medium bring ‘the subject of the party’, when something like this comes up,” Ebbe Dahl says.
Chief editor Siegfried Matlok from Der Nordschleswiger [a German/Danish newspaper from the border area between Denmark and Germany — translator] says unconditionally “no” to the ultimatum.
“There will be no wavering from us. Respect for Muslims in Denmark and in the rest of the world — but this we cannot accept.”