Netherlands: News-site removes Vilks cartoon

Netherlands: News-site removes Vilks cartoon

Once again, this story demonstrates the Streisand effect.  By trying to force a site to remove the picture, and even succeeding, the Muslims in question hit the news and caused  more sites to publish the cartoon.  And though one could argue that a news item about a plot to murder a cartoonist for a certain cartoon does not merit showing that cartoon, what other illustration could you bring for a story about censoring that cartoon?


Dutch news site AD used the Vilks cartoon to illustrate a story on the plot to murder the Swedish cartoonist.

An email campaign was organized by the As-Soenna mosque in the Hague.  "Under the cloak of freedom of expression, our beloved prophet continues to be insulted.  It's time to stop this."

AD later removed the cartoon, but said they did not do so because of angry responses.  Acting editor Bart Verkade said that they've gotten many offended responses, and that calls attention to the fact that it's a sensitive topic.  "But that is not why we removed the cartoon.  That happened after internal discussion.  It had been decided too quickly that it was an appropriate illustration.  We thought the illustration was not relevant."  Before that, he said, they showed the cartoon when they thought it was functional.  The news item now has a picture of Vilks.

De Pers and Elsevier wrote about the removal of the cartoon, and used the cartoon to illustrate the story.  Imam Sheik Fawaz Jneid of the As-Soennah mosque criticized the move.  In a video message on his site ( Fawaz Jneid said: "We say to these contemptible people, if you try to mock the prophet, you'll never succeed.  You're making yourselves look ridiculous."  The imam said that using the cartoon was worse than childish, and that this type of insult should be fought with their hands, tongues and hearts.

Elsevier points out that Dutch blog GeenStijl also used the cartoon in 2007, when the cartoon was first published, but nobody got upset back then.

Dutch blog De Dagelijkse Standaard was also asked by a Muslim commentator to remove the cartoon, saying "it's my duty as a Muslims to remind you of the fact that your participation in forming a negative image regarding Islam contributes to nothing but deterioration, unrest and intolerance that nobody wants."  The site refused.

Sources: Elsevier, De Pers (Dutch), h/t NRP

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