""It cannot be ruled out that the drawings have offended some Muslims' honour, but there is no basis to assume that the drawings are, or were conceived as, insulting or that the purpose of the drawings was to present opinions that can belittle Muslims," the court said in its ruling."
Now to me the cartoons were insulting by their very existence. Representations of Mohammed are offensive to Muslims, period, and printing them is a slap in the face to a religious minority. But the paper commissions them anyway in order to start a debate about self-censorship. A debate with whom? Well, not the Muslim population, of course, because their views are both known (these pictures are offensive by definition) and dismissed out of hand as not important. No, we'll have a debate amongst ourselves, the real Danes, as to why some people are reluctant to offend those (foreign) Muslims. Which adds credence to the Danish Muslims' position that they're ignored and belittled by the mainstream Danes. Then to go one better, some of the cartoons are offensive in a way that even a westerner considers offensive. How can a picture of Mohammed wearing a warhead as a turban *not* be designed to belittle Muslims?
"Offended some Muslims' honour." Honour? I hope there's something lost in translation here. You've offended a whole people's religion. Satirical papers get to do that, occasionally, if they don't go too far. (If they go too far they get slapped with the law that forbids inciting hatred towards a group.) Mainstream papers don't get to offend people gratuitously, not in a multi-cultural society. But I have a horrible feeling that not only the court but the paper itself just didn't see how linking the founder of Islam to the acts of its most violent members could be construed as an insult to both the religion and its adherents. 'You're all a bunch of violent terrorists' is *not* an insult?
Here's how you live in a multi-cultural society: you don't do things that will gratuitously offend people's culture and religion unless there's a thumping good reason for it. If artists for a children's book don't want to draw Mohammed because that will offend Muslims, fine and good. Children will not be harmed by not seeing an artist's fancied picture of the Prophet. Show other Arabs of the times, mention that this book contains no pictures of Mohammed himself, and say why. That way they've learned something basic about Islam. (Actually, draw all the pictures from Mohammed's pov. *That* would be an interesting exercise.)
Did some Muslims in other countries overreact? Yes, by our standards. That's not the point. It's how you behave within a multi-cultural society that matters, so that people can get along as easily as possible. Do some Muslims have to learn how to do that too? Yes, especially when they hold fundamentalist beliefs. Some Muslims here aren't happy about gay marriage. Neither are some Christians and some Sikhs. It's pretty much a done deal and they get to suck it up, because it's a matter of basic rights. Did our newspaper reprint the cartoons? No flipping way. They were gratuitously offensive and the rest of the hot-eyed slavering population can suck it up, because there's no need for gratuitous offence.
And because I. Am. Canadian! and politics bore me, I'm tempted to disable comments so as not to have to discuss politics any more. I won't, but be aware that I'm not in a mood for a dialogue either so your comments may go unanswered.