Kurt Westergaard, the famous Danish Mohammed cartoonist, says the Facebook "Draw Mohammed Day" initiative is good for freedom of speech. "the initiative is seen as a protest for freedom of speech, where Mohammed and my cartoon have become icons for this culture battle," he told the Journalisten magazine. He says there's a risk that it can inspire terrorism, but that this isn't something that should repress us. (DA)
In Rotterdam, Mohammed cartoons were posted in various public places:
Mohammed Mohandis, PvdA (Dutch Labor Party) candidate for parliament, removed a parody of the Danish Mohammed cartoon with his face from the Jonge Socialisten (Young Socialists) Amsterdam site.
In the context of the international "Draw Mohammed Day", held in solidarity with cartoonist who are threatened for their cartoons of the Islamic prophet, the Amsterdam youth division of the PvdA put an edited portrait of Mohandis on the site.
This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog - islamineurope.blogspot.com
Mohandis wore a turban, just like the prophet in the famous Kurt Westergaard cartoon. In place of a fuse there was a PvdA rose in the bomb. The text on the turban was changed for the Arabic word for love and above it said "On June 9th you can vote for our prophet Mohamed."
"We think that everybody worldwide has the right to express his or her vision on anything by means of ridicule or satire," said the accompanying text. "To quote the words of our chairman Mohammed Mohandis: "Offense belongs to freedom of speech, and that is a great thing."
But the image wasn't there long before Mohandis, the national chairman of the Jonge Socialisten, asked it be removed. He explains: "This was an initiative of the Jonge Socialisten Amsterdam. Previously I was contacted and I said in a sort of intoxication draw what you want. But this goes too far. I'm for freedom of speech, but I am personally depicted. I hadn't seen that in advance, and I think it shouldn't have been submitted to me."
"I have no interest in being portrayed like that. It should be about freedom of speech, about the issue, and not about me." Mosselman had asked Mohandis via Twitter for a photo for 'Draw Mohammed Day", and he had pointed to a photo [of himself] on his website.
the initiator and board member of the Jonge Socialisten in Amsterdam Arne Mosselman responded with deep disappointment. "It was a playful manner to say: Mohandis is our prophet, vote for him. And with the rose and the word love our message was: it's possible." Mosselmen wasn't only called by Mohandis, but got various calls from the 'heart of the PvdA, from the campaign' saying that the picture should be removed. It would be harmful to the campaign.
"I think it was good for the campaign," says Mosselman. "Anybody who is not a fundamentalist, thought it was great. And fundamentalists aren't going to vote for you."
Mosselman does admit that portraying Mohandis this way bears a security risk. "I think that's most regrettable. That leads to censorship. And we're doing that too now."
Mosselman is now considering voting for Femke Halsema of GroenLinks. "That party does too little for integration, but at least has principles."