NORWAY: Magazine publishes offending cartoon

Cartoon caused uproar in Muslim world last year; Christian magazine in Norway defends publishing in context of 'freedom of expression'

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Oslo --- A Norwegian Christian magazine on Tuesday published a set of caricatures deemed blasphemous by Muslims following months of uproar in the Muslim world over a Danish paperís decision to print the same cartoons.

Repeating a move by conservative Danish paper Jyllands-Posten last September, Magazinet published the controversial drawings in the name of 'freedom of expression'.

The same caricatures have been blasted by Muslims in Denmark and abroad.

"Just like Jyllands-Posten, I have become sick of the ongoing hidden erosion of the freedom of expression," Magazinet editor Vebjoern Selbekk wrote.

The murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004 revealed "that we are not facing empty threats. We know that the freedom of expression in our part of the world is being threatened by religion that is not afraid of using violence", he added.

The editor said he was not afraid of the prospect of facing the same indignation and even death threats that faced the Danish paper after it published the cartoons.

"We have gone astray if we start to give in to fear in this question," Mr Selbekk said.

"Many people have already done a lot to make sure this problem is not hushed to death. We hope that by publishing these drawings we are doing our part," he added.

Muslim communities in Norway did not immediately react to the publication of the caricatures.