Danish editor says he'd publish Iran's Holocaust cartoon
Iranian newspaper announces cartoons contest on Holocaust, says they are targeting Western taboo.
The Danish editor behind the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed that ignited deadly riots in the Muslim world said Wednesday he's trying to coordinate with an Iranian paper soliciting cartoons on the Holocaust.
"My newspaper is trying to establish a contact with the Iranian newspaper, and we would run the cartoons the same day as they publish them," Flemming Rose said Wednesday in an interview on CNN's "American Morning."
The Iranian newspaper Hamshahri said Tuesday it would hold the competition to test whether the West extends the principle of freedom of expression to the Nazi genocide as it did to the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Those cartoons were first published by Rose's newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September. As Muslim protests mounted, numerous European newspapers have reprinted them in recent days in the name of free expression, provoking wider and angrier protests.
Rose, Jyllands-Posten's culture editor, told CNN he came up with the idea after several local cases of self-censorship involving people fearing reprisals from Muslims.
"There was a story out there and we had to cover it," Rose said. "We just chose to cover it in a different way, according to the principal: Don't tell it, show it."
The drawings - including one depicting the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb - have touched a nerve in part because Islam is interpreted to forbid any illustrations of the Prophet Muhammad for fear they could lead to idolatry.
"I do not regret it," Rose said. "I think it is like asking a rape victim if she regrets wearing a short skirt at a discotheque Friday night. In that sense, in our culture, if you're wearing a short skirt, that does not necessarily mean you invite everybody to have sex with you. As is the case with these cartoons, if you make a cartoon, make fun of religion, make fun of religious figures, that does not imply that you humiliate or denigrate or marginalize a religion."
The Iranian newspaper said its contest would be launched Monday and co-sponsored by the House of Caricatures, a Tehran exhibition center for cartoons. The paper and the cartoon center are owned by the Tehran Municipality, which is dominated by allies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, well-known for his opposition to Israel.
Germany lambastes Iran for dragging Israel into cartoon frayAn Iranian newspaper's call for Holocaust cartoons is an attempt to drag Israel into a conflict between Europe and the Muslim world over caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, a German government minister said.
"After denying the right of Israel to exist and denying the Holocaust, the people around President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad are trying to escalate the situation," Deputy Foreign Minister Gernot Erler was quoted as saying in Wednesday's edition of the Berliner Zeitung daily newspaper.
"This fills us with deep concern, that a state is using this clash of cultures as a tool to further its own dominance."
Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany, punishable with up to five years in prison. Printing cartoons that make light of the Holocaust but do not question it would not be a crime but would invite private lawsuits and other legal difficulties for a newspaper in Germany.
Eckart von Klaeden, foreign policy spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) in parliament, said Iran was trying to widen a conflict between Denmark and the Muslim world to include Israel.
"Once again Iran is trying to drag Israel into the conflict with the motto -- Israel is responsible for everything," von Klaeden said in a statement. "We should not let Israel be dragged into this."
EU warns IranThe call for Holocaust cartoons was announced as the EU's executive office warned Iran Tuesday that attempts to boycott Danish goods or cancel trade contracts with European countries would lead to a further rupture in already cool relations.
The EU was trying to confirm comments made by Iran's president that the country should boycott Danish products in protest of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, EU spokesman Johannes Laitenberger told reporters.
"A boycott of Danish goods is by definition a boycott of European goods," Laitenberger said. "A boycott hurts the economic interests of all parties, also those who are boycotting and can damage the growing trade links between the EU and the countries concerned."