Saturday, February 04, 2006

Cheese anyone?

Denmark is a big word in Libya these days. It all began with some cartoons that were published in Denmark that had an anti-Islam slant. Libya asked the Danish ambassador to leave and the Libyan ambassador in Denmark came home. There was a big, world wide call for the banning of products from Denmark by Muslims.

Actually, when I asked around I hadn't found anyone that had actually even seen the cartoons so I found it really weird when Libyans went down the street near my house demonstrating. Shouting and chanting all the way to the Danish embassy which is nearby. Demonstrations here are always a planned event. They go to the university, schools and government offices and take the students and workers to the demonstrations by bus. It's very weird in my oppinion. Isn't the idea of being in a demonstration because you WANT to be there? It should be something that you really have strong feelings for. Not, 'You're going to a demonstration. Get on the bus'.

As for banning goods from Denmark, this really isn't a big deal as it's mostly dairy products and we get them from many sources. It's not like we are going to feel like we are doing without and making a big personal sacrifice.

As for the cartoons, I have had a look. And while I don't believe that it's right to insult anyone's religious beliefs, I do believe that people should have the freedom to express themselves. Or to attend, or not attend a demonstration.

Just my two cents.


  1. Salam Khadija,

    I am Libyan and I live in Denmark. There has never been any problem for any newspapers to express themselves and the issue with the dirty cartoons have absolutely nothing to do with expression of speech!

    I followed the issue from its very start in September 2005; a loony communist writer proposed to fill a wagon with qurans, then shed some menstruation blood on it (his name is Kare Bluitgen) - he declared he wanted to irritate Muslims for fun (he called it ART!)

    Nobody took him serious and he was ignored for a while. Then suddenly he declared he wanted to make a comic book about the life of our Prophet Muhammed (SAAS). He could not get anyone to draw the book, though. That started a discussion in the newspapers about why no one would draw the comic - Bluitgen claimed that Muslims had intimidated artists from working on the book. When journalist ridiculed him, he suggested to bring some comic drawings in the media to "test" the reaction of the Muslim community. The rest is history...

    You have to understand that Denmark is no racist country; by all means Muslims in Denmark have every political right just as the Danes. But people here have small minds - for instance Tony Blair or George Bush accept Muslim citizens as equal citizens, sending eid greetings or visiting mosques and interact with Muslim communities in their countries.

    The Danish government, though, is under pressure from the Nationalist Danish Party. "Our" prime minister Anders Fogh refuses to acknowledge Danish Muslim community as equal partners. He refuses to visit a mosque, yet he proudly prays in a Jewish synagogue dressed in a Jewish hat, although Muslims are a far greater number than Jews in this country.

    Twice did our Prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen mention Muslims in his annual new year speech; once as terrorists and the second time as dangerous fundamentalists and economical burdens.
    We are "they" and Danes are "us" - Denmarks Muslim minory is simply not accepted as Danes; we are second grade citizens in the eyes of our government.

    People like myself are talking about leaving Denmark. I am afraid to let my kids grow up in this country.

    Please don´t misunderstand me; I love Denmark and I do not like all the violence people abroad are doing to Danish embassies - but the issue here is NOT freedom of speech; it is freedom of RACISM. We are told to like being ridiculed or leave. That is, I think, the reason why so many Muslims in this country are angry and frustrated.

    Personally, I am very worried. Luckily I have bought a small property in Libya, so I have a place to go, when things get too hot.

    Reporting from Copenhagen, Denmark,
    your sister in islam,

  2. Freedom of expression - yes - but not insulting ones religious beliefs. Racism is a crime, as well as inciting racism.

    It is sad that the Prime Minister will visit Jews in their place of worship, but not Muslims. George Bush only does it to try to collect votes - I don't think he's sincere.

    I doubt that Muslims banning Danish goods will have that much of an impact on the Danish economy.

    Thanks for the report from Copenhagan!

  3. And some more: I have finished reading your blogs since 2004 and I had a HILARIOUS time! You definetely have talent....and your blogs made so much remembrance come back to me! (I haven´t been in Libya since 2001).

    If I should rate a top 5 of your blogs, this is it:

    1) The "Kef hal fadilak.."-story. I laughed so hard tears ran down my cheeks...btw, I was diagnosed with AHDH myself when younger and my daughter has it, too. Don´t worry, AHDH is a very Libyan way of living ;-) you just have to be relaxed about it...

    2) The husband-locked-inside-story! I am currently inspecting the door locks in our house to see, if it´ll work for me, too...

    3) The photo of the fridge lying on the steps on the beach. Very Libyan - strange that I miss those thing, they surely never happen here in Denmark!

    4) Libyans going on shopping fringe the last day before eid. This is sooooooooo typical!

    5) Thanx for the Shkouba-game. Who made it?

  4. I agree with you safia on this issue completely. I've been to Europe many times. But alot of these countries have in common is the fact that there is racism towards Muslims and Arabs. Though not everyone is like this or thinks about it, racism, hatred, and disrespect are a common thing that Europeans feel towards muslims.

    I live in Canada and have lived practically my life there, and I will tell you something honest (as God is my witness), that Canada treats Muslims better than any European country, even if the good treatmeants or rights given to them we're combined. The Prime Minster visits mosques, and Islamic Centre's and has even made good comments about them. We have many Muslims in our Parliament and in government positions etc.

    But back to the topic, freedom of speech is a basic right, in fact long before the western world even knew how to make PAPER!. It was the Islamic Empire that implemented freedom of speech as a rule of common law, long before the american or french revolution. Bu

    Though Freedom of Speech has it's limits, even within a democratic s society. In Canada it states basically that freedome of speech can only be used if it does not spread harassment, hatred, or through demeaning an individual/group of thier dignity.

    They have put the Prophet (P.B.U.H) as a terriost with a turban as a BOMB! Astfurallah. This is totally disprect to all Muslims because of 2 things. One is that in all Islam's 1000 Years of rule, it was forbidden to even draw a picture of him even for good purposes. They couldn't make an art of him or a statue or anything, let alone have some non-muslims do it and demean his dignity when he (SAAS) is the father of morals, good conduct, and all but inspiring humblness. This was done so that people would learn from reading about it and not worshipping his images, just like the Christians do when they see a statue of Jesus (P.B.U.H).

    Another factor that safia mentioned is that this has been done to purposely infuriate Muslims and to simply get a reaction from them. Well know there's a huge reaction from them, and it doesn't look good at the moment.

    Khadija to be honest, boycotting there products actually does have an impact btw. Do you know that just in the middle east, not North Africa or the muslim world, they sell over $2 Billion of thier currency in prodcuts. If you do the math, imagine all those people and companies and what will happen to them. Imagine if no one sells them oil or if OPEC halts production. It is the duty of every Muslim to stand up and say no to them because in the Quran Allah commands us to Honor the Prophet and our religion. And we have the religion of truth and justice so it is very sad when we have to hear stuff like this.

    Well I tried to make everything as breif as possible, that's my 2 cents


  5. Dear Khadija !
    congratulations for the 10,000 visitors.
    I became a regular visitor to your blog and i really enjoy your posts.
    If you feel like sharing some posts on
    I will be happy to introduce you to the team.

  6. Ok , I have found those cartoons on a couple of blogspots. At first I really didn't think they were all that offensive ( I am a new recrute to Islam but having been married to a Libyan for 35 years , I do get the picture or as a Muslum... no picture's please)just sorta bland . Then I thought about them more and more .I realized they were actually very offensive on several fronts #1 from the Islamic point of veiw about the Prophet Mohamed and, his messeage. #2 from the point of veiw that in Islam there shouldn't be any graven imagies depicted of any one person , but especially not of the Prophet Mohamed #3 I found it very insulting , that if the word " Mohamed " was removed from each cartoon ( as each cartoon is featured with the name of Muhammed printed on it somewhere just in case you missed the implied message that this is a dicpiction of the Prophet Mohamed)you are left with the impression that Arabs are stupid, ignorant people . Another example of Arabs as negative people not worthy of respect . I don't want this for my childern or my husband, to be seen in this light through out the world .I do beleive in free speech but there should also be respect for the " other " in this world of ours . Syd

  7. Hi! I have been meaning to stop over to see what you think of this hot topic. I agree with your previous Canadian poster - re: the limitations to free speech in Canada - it can't incite hatred - that's our law. But I heard an interesting talk on CBC (our national radio) last week, with three well known Canadian Muslims, and they made some good comments, including: 1. it is a sign of maturity to be able to laugh at one's own culture (including religion) 2. there are many Muslim/Arabic newspapers/magazines throughout the world that do these types of cartoons with offensive attacks against western countries (including Christianity and Jewish faith)... so it's hypocritical to get so upset about these specific cartoons... 3. they said that one of the problems is that the majority of Muslim populations in the Middle East aren't as educated, and don't live in democracies, so they don't actually understand what free speech is - so then they blame the Denmark government for one dumb newspapers cartoons, even though the whole concept of free speech is that we don't control our newspapers - that is what living in a free society is... (I am not saying I totally agree with these comments, but perspective is different depending on where you live... I think).

    My own biggest concern right now is that the attacks on embassies and threats against westerners are not helping the majority of Europeans or North Americans to feel ok about bringing immigrants into our countries. The violent protests are basically reinforcing the already stupid, unfair stereotypes out there.

    Finally - I think most people who believe in any kind of God would agree that any violence or threats of violence are absolutely unacceptable and should be punishable by law. (as they would be in Canada) I hope this isn't insensitive to this specific situation, just my thoughts at this point.


  8. I followed the issue from its very start in September 2005; a loony communist writer proposed to fill a wagon with qurans, then shed some menstruation blood on it (his name is Kare Bluitgen) - he declared he wanted to irritate Muslims for fun (he called it ART!)

    What, what, what, WHAT?? That is, excuse me, the biggest croc of shit I have ever heard. Do you honestly believe that? And you live in Copenhagen? Where did you hear that? And what led you to believe it?

  9. The idea of the menstruation blood sounds extremely off to me - what kind of person/woman(?) would collect it? Most probably it was just a threat to incite anger - and it obviously worked.

  10. Jim said:

    What, what, what, WHAT?? That is, excuse me, the biggest croc of shit I have ever heard. Do you honestly believe that? And you live in Copenhagen? Where did you hear that? And what led you to believe it?

    I'm sorry, but this is completely true and completely on the record: Kåre Bluitgen is a provocateur; his original idea was to demonstrate against the alleged opression of women amongst Muslims by making a procession of people with veils, chadors, burkas, etc., and when the demonstration came to the destination, they would dump all these things in a garbage container and torch them; and then, they would take Korans and smear them with menstrual blood to protest the alleged opression of women originating from the Koran.

    Now, this never happened, of course, it was just Kåre Bluitgen's wacky idea. But Kåre went on from this and decided to create a children's book on the life of Muhammad in order to "teach Danish children about Muhammad" - stressing, I'm sorry to say, especially the aspects of the prophets life that might be considered oor alleged to be unethical by modern standards. Now, it was difficult for him to find illustrators for his book, and he claimed in the media it was due to untimely self-censorship - and this is what provoked Jyllands-Posten to publish their cartoons.

  11. Hi everyone,

    my name is Rick and I'm currently writing my thesis on the reactions
    on the Muslim cartoons. Could anyone direct me to a RELIABLE source for the Bluitgen quote about the menstrual blood in English? So far I have found a lot in Danish and all that's in English is on blogs, and unfortunately I'm not allowed to use that. Thanks in advance!



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