Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that have caused a storm of protest throughout the Islamic world, refused to run drawings lampooning Jesus Christ, it has emerged today.
The Danish daily turned down the cartoons of Christ three years ago, on the grounds that they could be offensive to readers and were not funny.
In April 2003, Danish illustrator Christoffer Zieler submitted a series of unsolicited cartoons dealing with the resurrection of Christ to Jyllands-Posten.
Zieler received an email back from the paper’s Sunday editor, Jens Kaiser, which said: “I don’t think Jyllands-Posten’s readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an outcry. Therefore, I will not use them.”
The illustrator told the Norwegian daily Dagbladet, which saw the email: “I see the cartoons as an innocent joke, of the type that my Christian grandfather would enjoy.”
“I showed them to a few pastors and they thought they were funny.”
He said that he felt Jyllands-Posten rated the feelings of its Christian readers higher than that of its Muslim readers.
The decision smacks of “double-standards”, said Ahmed Akkari, spokesman for the Danish-based European Committee for Prophet Honouring, the umbrella group that represents 27 Muslim organisations that are campaigning for a full apology from Jyllands-Posten.
“How can Jyllands-Posten distinguish the two cases? Surely they must understand,” Mr Akkari added.
Oh, rest assured they understand, Mr. Akkari. They understand who their target readership is…a bunch of right-wing “Christian” bigots who have no problem with mockery of other religions, but who are oh-so-touchy about anything touching their own.
So much for “free speech”, eh?