Muhammad cartoons controversy

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File:Mohammed karikatur.jpg
One of the published images of Muhammad

In September 2005 a Danish newspaper published twelve cartoons of Muhammad, creating a flashpoint between the freedom of the press and Muslims objecting to the publication of the cartoons. Within six months, 139 people died and 823 people were injured by violence attributed to the controversy. Because of the twelve cartoons Danish, Austrian, and Norwegian embassies were burned in Syria and Iran. Islamic leaders called for a boycott of Danish goods[1], and the cartoonists themselves were forced to go into hiding due to death threats made by Muslims[2]. The images appeared on the blogs and in smaller independent newspapers, but most of the U.S. mainstream media refused to publish the images even as they covered the issue extensively.

On April 12th, 2006, The television show South Park aired the episode "Cartoon Wars Part I", which challenged the Comedy Central network to let an image of Muhammad air uncensored in the next episode, "Cartoon Wars Part II". Comedy Central did, however, censor the image of Muhammad. It should be noted that Muhammad had been shown on South Park several times before, when there was no pre-existing controversy. This is hypocritical, because South Park has aired graphic depictions of Jesus's death, mocked Christianity, and shown images of the American flag being defecated upon.

In fact there is still some debate about the claimed ban on images of Mohammed; many images exist in muslim art, and the prohibition appears not to have been decreed until centuries after his life. Various interpretations of Islam also prohibit depictions of ALL prophets (including Jesus Christ) or ALL living creatures. The riotous response to the Danish cartoons was a very selective outpouring of anger, and did not take place until several months after their publication.