[The Jyllands-Posten] published 12 cartoons of Mohammad after a Danish writer complained that he couldn't find anyone to illustrate a book he'd written about him. The cultural editor of the newspaper put out a call to illustrators, twelve responded and the paper published the cartoons. They were pretty tame stuff, but have rocked the Muslim world because under Islamic law — which they now seek to apply in the West — renderings of Mohammad are illegal.
The cultural editor of the Jyllands-Posten has remained unapologetic, saying he put out the call in response to a worrying trend he had observed in the Western media: self-censorship. The paper has received bomb threats and the editors and the cartoonists have received death threats from adherents of the Religion of Peace but all have stood their ground.
With great bravery, so has Denmark's prime minister, Anders Rasmussen, who declined a requested meeting with the ambassadors from 11 Muslim countries, saying he has no control over Denmark's press "and nor do I want such".
Ever more, the Rushdie affair looks like the canary in the coalmine.
Imagine the amount of media coverage that would be attracted if President Bush were to implement a North American trade embargo against Denmark in response to one of their papers' publishing a blasphemous Jesus joke. Compare with the amount of coverage you've seen of this real story over the last six months.
When the Danish paper published cartoons on Mohammed, they were obviously not offensive enough to get a decent reaction from the Ummah. So someone in the protesting community ... of Denmark added a couple of 'extras' — the prophet with a pig's head and a couple worse than that.
The BBC are reporting the fake cartoons as being published by the newspaper.
... We pay £3 billion a year for untrue news that may (if the Koran-flushing story is any guide) cost lives.