People have been drawing all kinds of conclusions about "clashes of civilisations" and making jugdements about Europe and/or Muslims.
But I think we need to look at the primary actors and at the facts surrounding this case. Neither side comes out looking very good.
For instance, the Muslims in Denmark need to be better citizens of their host country. And the Danes, according to some reports, also appear to have a long way to go in terms of integrating their immigrants socially and more importantly economically.
Read the report compiled by Professor Juan Cole here.
From this report, it seems the Danish PM was undiplomatic and insensitive in his handling of the original protest by Muslims. Perhaps, it could be argued, this is because of racism, which is what the Islamic press and others are claiming this incident demonstrates.
Of course, the PM was entirely correct in directing his petitioners, from the very beginning of the controversy, to avail themselves of the courts.
The Danish Muslims, on the other hand, were wrong in not availing themselves of the courts and instead of this they took the cartoons on a "road show" to Middle Eastern governments. It appears they also inserted some bogus cartoons for greater effect.
These Middle Eastern states then compounded the problem. They foolishly decided to take the matter up with the Danes through international diplomatic channels thus ensuring escalation and the present state of affairs.
This article challenges what is perceived as Cole's attempt to exonerate the Saudis.
Check out Magic Statistics for links to articles about the original machinations of the parties.
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