What a difference a year makes. The publishing of Muhammed cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllends-Posten caused an uproar among Muslims worldwide last year. Despite the newsworthiness of the cartoons as they related to the unfolding story of violent riots throughout Europe and the Middle East, many news outlets reporting on the story refused to publish or show the cartoons out of, um, respect for Muslim sensibilities.
Now, the outcome of a lawsuit resulting from the fracas is left floating somewhere in a media backwater, as journalists seek more lucrative prey. A Muslim group based in Denmark that filed a libel lawsuit against a Danish political party leader has lost. They sued because Pia Kjaersgaard, leader of the Danish People's Party (DPP), accused some members of the Islamic Faith Community of treason for traveling to the Middle East in order to publicize the drawings, thus fanning the flames of violent dissent. The court found the term "treason" non-libelous "because it was used extensively in public debate."
One wonders if the story would receive more publicity had the Islamic Faith Community won its case.
This interesting little nugget is buried near the bottom of the story:
"We are very disappointed with the verdict and are considering an appeal," said Kasem Ahmad, a spokesman for the Muslim group. He added that the group would issue a fatwa, or religious edict, against Jyllands-Posten if it did not receive an apology from the paper.
"It's too early to say any details of the fatwa," Ahmad said. "The fatwa is the last step and will also satisfy Muslims in the Middle East."
With their commitment to freedom of speech and freedom of the press, will fellow journalists rally to the aid of Jyllends-Posten if a fatwah is issued? Or will they ignore it out of fear of retribution by radical Muslims...I mean, respect for the Islamic faith?