rini hartman on Fri, 10 Feb 2006 16:35:29 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-nl] Re: De geschiedenis van ´het´ conflict.......

Een aardige context artikel uit de New York Times
Sorry, je moet wel wat Engels kunnen...

Rini Hartman

ps. en nogmaals: www.zombietime.com/mohammed_image_archive/

New York Times, February 9, 2006
The Protests
At Mecca Meeting, Cartoon Outrage Crystallized
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Feb. 8 ? As leaders of the world's 57 Muslim nations
gathered for a summit meeting in Mecca in December, issues like
religious extremism dominated the official agenda. But much of the talk
in the hallways was of a wholly different issue: Danish cartoons
satirizing the Prophet Muhammad.

The closing communiqué took note of the issue when it expressed "concern
at rising hatred against Islam and Muslims and condemned the recent
incident of desecration of the image of the Holy Prophet Muhammad in the
media of certain countries" as well as over "using the freedom of
expression as a pretext to defame religions."

The meeting in Mecca, a Saudi city from which non-Muslims are barred,
drew minimal international press coverage even though such leaders as
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran were in attendance. But on the
road from quiet outrage in a small Muslim community in northern Europe
to a set of international brush fires, the summit meeting of the
Organization of the Islamic Conference ? and the role its member
governments played in the outrage ? was something of a turning point.

After that meeting, anger at the Danish caricatures, especially at an
official government level, became more public. In some countries, like
Syria and Iran, that meant heavy press coverage in official news media
and virtual government approval of demonstrations that ended with Danish
embassies in flames.

In recent days, some governments in Muslim countries have tried to calm
the rage, worried by the increasing level of violence and deaths in some

But the pressure began building as early as October, when Danish
Islamists were lobbying Arab ambassadors and Arab ambassadors lobbied
Arab governments.

"It was no big deal until the Islamic conference when the O.I.C. took a
stance against it," said Muhammad el-Sayed Said, deputy director of the
Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo.

Sari Hanafi, an associate professor at the American University in Beirut,
said that for Arab governments resentful of the Western push for
democracy, the protests presented an opportunity to undercut the appeal
of the West to Arab citizens. The freedom pushed by the West, they
seemed to say, brought with it disrespect for Islam.

He said the demonstrations "started as a visceral reaction ? of course
they were offended ? and then you had regimes taking advantage saying,
'Look, this is the democracy they're talking about.' "

The protests also allowed governments to outflank a growing challenge
from Islamic opposition movements by defending Islam.

At first, the agitation was limited to Denmark. Ahmed Akkari, 28, a
Lebanese-born Dane, acts as spokesman for the European Committee for
Honoring the Prophet, an umbrella group of 27 Danish Muslim
organizations to press the Danish government into action over the

Mr. Akkari said the group had worked for more than two months in Denmark
without eliciting any response. "We collected 17,000 signatures and
delivered them to the office of the prime minister, we saw the minister
of culture, we talked to the editor of the Jyllands-Posten, we took many
steps within Denmark, but could get no action," Mr. Akkari said,
referring to the newspaper that published the cartoons. He added that
the prime minister's office had not even responded to the petition.

Frustrated, he said, the group turned to the ambassadors of Muslim
countries in Denmark and asked them to speak to the prime minister on
their behalf. He refused them too.

"Then the case moved to a new stage," Mr. Akkari recalled. "We decided
then that to be heard, it must come from influential people in the
Muslim world."

The group put together a 43-page dossier, including the offending
cartoons and three more shocking images that had been sent to Danish
Muslims who had spoken out against the Jyllands-Posten cartoons.

Mr. Akkari denied that the three other offending images had contributed
to the violent reaction, saying the images, received in the mail by
Muslims who had complained about the cartoons, were included to show the
response that Muslims got when they spoke out in Denmark.

In early December, the group's first delegation of Danish Muslims flew to
Cairo, where they met with the grand mufti, Muhammad Sayid Tantawy,
Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab

"After that, there was a certain response," Mr. Akkari said, adding that
the Cairo government and the Arab League both summoned the Danish
ambassador to Egypt for talks.

Mr. Akkari denies that the group had meant to misinform, but concedes
that there were misunderstandings along the way.

In Cairo, for example, the group also met with journalists from Egypt's
media. During a news conference, they spoke about a proposal from the
far-right Danish People's Party to ban the Koran in Denmark because of
some 200 verses that are alleged to encourage violence.

Several newspapers then ran articles claiming that Denmark planned to
issue a censored version of the Koran. The delegation returned to
Denmark, but the dossier continued to make waves in the Middle East.
Egypt's foreign minister had taken the dossier with him to the Mecca
meeting, where he showed it around. The Danish group also sent a second
delegation to Lebanon to meet religious and political leaders there.

Mr. Akkari went on that trip. The delegation met with the grand mufti in
Lebanon, Muhammad Rashid Kabbani, and the spiritual head of Lebanon's
Shiite Muslims, Sheik Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, as well as the
patriarch of the Maronite Church, Nasrallah Sfeir. The group also
appeared on Hezbollah's satellite station Al Manar TV, which is seen
throughout the Arab world.

Mr. Akkari also made a side trip to Damascus, Syria, to deliver a copy of
the dossier to that country's grand mufti, Sheik Ahmed Badr-Eddine

Lebanon's foreign minister, Fawzi Salloukh, says he agreed to meet in
mid-December with Egypt's ambassador to Lebanon, who presented him with
a letter from his foreign minister, Aboul Gheit, urging him to get
involved in the issue. Attached to the letter were copies of some of the

At the end of December, the pace picked up as talk of a boycott became
more prominent. The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization, comprising more than 50 states, published on its Web site
a statement condemning "the aggressive campaign waged against Islam and
its Prophet" by Jyllands-Posten, and officials of the organization said
member nations should impose a boycott on Denmark until an apology was
offered for the drawings.

"We encourage the organization's members to boycott Denmark both
economically and politically until Denmark presents an official apology
for the drawings that have offended the world's Muslims," said Abdulaziz
Othman al-Twaijri, the organization's secretary general.

In a few weeks, the Jordanian Parliament condemned the cartoons, as had
several other Arab governments.

On Jan. 10, as anti-Danish pressure built, a Norwegian newspaper
republished the caricatures in an act of solidarity with the Danes,
leading many Muslims to believe that a real campaign against them had

On Jan. 26, in a key move, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to
Denmark, and Libya followed suit. Saudi clerics began sounding the call
for a boycott, and within a day, most Danish products were pulled off
supermarket shelves.

"The Saudis did this because they have to score against Islamic
fundamentalists," said Mr. Said, the Cairo political scientist. "Syria
made an even worse miscalculation," he added, alluding to the sense that
the protest had gotten out of hand. The issue of the cartoons came at a
critical time in the Muslim world because of Muslim anger over the
occupation of Iraq and a sense that Muslims were under siege. Strong
showings by Islamists in elections in Egypt and the victory of Hamas in
the Palestinian elections had given new momentum to Islamic movements in
the region, and many economies, especially those in the Persian Gulf,
realized their economic power as it pertained to Denmark.

"The cartoons were a fuse that lit a bigger fire," said Rami Khouri,
editor at large at the English-language Daily Star of Beirut. "It is
this deepening sense of vulnerability combines with a sense that the
Islamists were on a roll that made it happen."

The wave swept many in the region. Sheik Muhammad Abu Zaid, an imam from
the Lebanese town of Saida, said he began hearing of the caricatures
from several Palestinian friends visiting from Denmark in December but
made little of it.

"For me, honestly, this didn't seem so important," Sheik Abu Zaid said,
comparing the drawings to those made of Jesus in Christian countries. "I
thought, I know that this is something typical in such countries."

Then, he started to hear that ambassadors of Arab countries had tried to
meet with the prime minister of Denmark and had been snubbed, and he
began to feel differently.

"It started to seem that this way of thinking was an insult to us," he
said. "It is fine to say, 'This is our freedom, this is our way of
thinking.' But we began to believe that their freedom was something that
hurts us."

Last week, Sheik Abu Zaid heard about a march being planned on the Danish
Consulate in Beirut, and he decided to join. He and 600 others boarded
buses bound for Beirut. Within an hour of arriving, some of the
demonstrators ? none of his people, he insisted ? became violent, and
began attacking the building that housed the embassy. It was just two
days after a similar attack against the Danish and Norwegian Embassies
in Damascus.

"In the demonstration, I believe 99 percent of the people were good and
peaceful, but I could hear people saying, 'We don't want to demonstrate
peacefully; we want to burn,' " the sheik said.

He tried in vain to calm people down, he said. "I was calling to the
people, 'Please, please follow us and go back.' " he said. "We were
hoping to calm people down, and we were hoping to help the peaceful
people who were caught in the middle of the fight."

Reporting for this article was contributed by Craig S. Smith from Paris,
Katherine Zoepf from Beirut, Suha Maayeh from Amman, Abeer Allam from
Cairo and Massoud A. Derhally from Dubai.


a belief in cultural, creative and integral expression as a means to
affecting deep and lasting social change

Art for Social Change is creative expression that emerges from artists to
improve individual and collective circumstances. Art for Social Change
involves an understanding of ?creation? that includes not only objects,
but also geographic locations, groups of people and collective

?Social artists? are concerned with the many ways art can function, like
community development, the environment, education, intergenerational
communication, healthcare, technology, politics, conflict resolution,
community regeneration and cultural citizenship. They are working in all
media, in all disciplines, in all locations.

Social artists are committed to bringing the arts to bear on the widest
possible range of social conditions and challenges facing our society.
These efforts seek to create social change at every level of society,
from ?personal? to ?political?.

At the heart of this social vision is a belief in cultural and creative
expression as a means to affecting deep and lasting social change. Art
becomes a political act, a conscious effort to facilitate and
participate in social change.

Art for Social Change is an expression of both individual and group
identity. All creative expression is an expression of both individual
and group life. Instead of an isolated individual genius, the artist(s)
serves as a cultural catalyst of social intervention and transformation.

Through art, we can challenge many of our society's deepest assumptions,
such as the boundaries between self and other, 'artist' and
'non-artist', present and past, male and female, young and old, 'normal'
and 'abnormal'. The social artist builds upon the power of artistic
creation and expression to spark new ideas, catalyze critical thinking,
elicit new actions, inspire individuals and create visions.

If the majority of the people do not believe in the possibility and the
rightness of their common cause, nothing long-lasting will be changed.
This is where art and artists play an essential role. If we want
freedom, we must promote free expression. If we want equity, we must
have equal access and support in expressing ourselves.

If we want respect, love and beauty among us and others, we must actively
promote it through our art.

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