Danish Muslim Cartoons ‘Offensive,’ Says U.S. Government

The U.S. government has declared the Danish cartoons that have offended some Muslims “offensive” in a statement released today.

Tens of thousands of angry Muslims marched through Palestinian cities, burning the Danish flag and calling for vengeance Friday against European countries where caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad were published. In Washington, the State Department criticized the drawings, calling them “offensive to the beliefs of Muslims.”

While recognizing the importance of freedom of the press and expression, State Department press officer Janelle Hironimus said these rights must be coupled with press responsibility. “Inciting religious or ethnic hatred in this manner is not acceptable,” Hironimus said. “We call for tolerance and respect for all communities and for their religious beliefs and practices.”

Angry protests against the drawings spread in the Muslim world. In Iraq, thousands demonstrated after mosque services, and the country’s leading Shiite cleric denounced the drawings. About 4,500 people rallied in Basra and hundreds at a Baghdad mosque. Danish flags were burned at both demonstrations. Muslims in Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia demonstrated against the European nations whose papers published them.

The caricatures, including one depicting the Muslim prophet wearing a turban fashioned into a bomb, were reprinted in papers in Norwegian, French, German and even Jordanian after first appearing in a Danish paper in September. The drawings were republished after Muslims decried the images as insulting to their prophet. Dutch-language newspapers in Belgium and two Italian right-wing papers reprinted the drawings Friday. [emphasis added]

I am offended that a representative of my government would utter such nonsense. Certainly, cartoons much more offensive than these have appeared in newspapers for ages. See, for example, everthing Ted Rall or Tom Toles has ever published.

Proper responses to editorial cartoons with which one disagrees include complaining to one’s spouse, writing a letter to the editor, and canceling one’s subscription to the paper. Rioting, mayhem, murder, and threats of religious war? Not so much.

See all of the images in full size at my Danish Muslim Cartoons page.

Related stories below the fold.


Muslim Day of Anger to Respond to Cartoons
Muhammad cartoon editor is sacked
‘No one will draw the Prophet’
London Islamists target Israel, Denmark
Muslim Cartoon Fury Spreads
Anger as papers reprint cartoons of Muhammad
European papers ignore Muslim fury over Danish cartoons
Danish news editor: Dark dictatorships have won


Muslim Day of Anger to Respond to Cartoons
French Editor Fired Over Muhammad Drawings
French and German Papers Republish Danish Cartoons
Danish Newspaper Apologizes for Muslim Cartoons

FILED UNDER: Islam, Media, , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    In Washington, the State Department criticized the drawings, calling them “offensive to the beliefs of Muslims.”

    To borrow a phrase from our host, “Boo freakin’ hoo.”

  2. McGehee says:

    Okay, now apparently “Preview” strips ALL formatting tags from our comments.

    I’ve asked before, what good is “Preview” if what it shows us is different from what gets published?

    Editor’s note: I edited the comment above to insert the blockquote; McGehee is not imagining things! We’re looking into the issue.

  3. Bithead says:

    I thought it was just me….

  4. Herb says:

    I don’t know who this hiroignormas guy is from the Stete Dept, but he had best “Get a Life” I have always questioned the motives and worth of the State Dept. and now they have provided the answer. They are worthless.

  5. Maggie says:

    My tax dollars fund the National Endowment for the Arts where dung flung Madonna portraits and urine saturated crosses are considered by the elite as acceptable ART.

    YO, baby, as far as the girl’s concerned, the ARAB STREET OUT ON THE STREET protesting is just that many more arabs that aren’t in a spider hole building bombs.


  6. James Joyner says:

    Testing the Preview feature and code buttons.

    Blockquoting this

    Italicizing this

    Bolding this

    Linking this

  7. McGehee says:

    Now let’s see if I can do it.

    Okay, it works for me now in preview, but will it publish? It’s almost always worked for me in the past, but maybe it’s a sometimes-misfire thing.

  8. McGehee says:

    Nope. The first paragraph in the above was supposed to blockquote, with “Now” in bold and “I” in italics.

  9. Ok, so it is offensive. So what?

  10. G A PHILLIPS says:

    We are already in a holy war with Islam, so what is the point of being nice. Muslims believe in world domination by the sword, read their Koran so you can see what I say is true. Their justifications for murder and mayhem are pointless, it is what the law of their so called prophet teaches them. It is one of the faults I have with my friend W, when he comes out and says Islam is a noble faith. Ok, it may be that he has to, seeing that he’s our Prez. and all that, you know freedom of religion is nice, it keeps my from getting my head cut off by one of those misguided bastards, or geting burned at the stake by some cathlic sect for reading my bible. But I’ll tell you one thing, thank God for this country becuse without it we would all be praying to stain glass windows, or praying to the devil five times a day, or not praying at all.

  11. John Burgess says:

    Whack State for needless rhetoric if you must, but they haven’t sinned here.

    The cartoons certainly are offensive–to those offended by them. That can include Americans who are no Muslim as well as Muslims who are not American. I’m not offended by the cartoons, but only found a couple of them actually amusing. The rest were, you know, just obvious.

    Stating that the cartoons are offensive isn’t taking sides about whether or not they should have been published. In fact, State says that freedom of speech trumps, even offensive speech. But it also points out that just because you have the right doesn’t mean you have the requirement to exercise it.

    BTW, Happy Third Anniversary of the blog!

  12. SB says:

    I support these cartoons and am tired of Muslims attempting to control my own freedoms of religion or speech. I am especially concerned about how Muslims (mainly those that follow strict Islamic laws) treat woman. Personally, this last points makes me feel that a great majority of Muslims are bigots and ignorant to the rights of others. When most Muslim women are given the “choice” to do X or Z, then I will be more open to listing to Muslims concerns about cartoons.

  13. sid says:

    wow you guys are so unbelievably ignorant its not even funny. No wonder theres such a great rift in society, disrespect and intolerance. Do yourselves a favour and read the Quran before you say anything so next time when someone reads what you have to say atleast they’ll have the consolation of knowing that maybe just maybe you know what the hell your on about.