February 06, 2006
|A Different Take On The Danish Cartoons||Palestine/Middle East|
Yesterday, I posted a link to an account that said the outrage over the Danish cartoons of Mohammed surfaced only months later because the issue was being exploited by the Saudi government.
Middle East expert Juan Cole says that's wrong:
It is being alleged in some quarters that the controversy over the Danish caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad is somehow artificial or whipped up months later by the Saudis. This is not true. The controversy began in Denmark itself among the 180,000 Danish Muslims. It was taken up by the ambassadors of Muslim states in Copenhagen. Then the Egyptian foreign minister began making a big deal of it, as did Islamist parties in Turkey and Pakistan. The crisis has unfolded along precisely the sort of networks one would have expected, and become intertwined with all the post-colonial crises of the region, from the foreign military occupation of Iraq to the new instability in Syria and Lebanon.
Cole lays out the chronology and makes a convincing case. I've no idea who's right, but I'd be inclined to go with Cole. He's the expert.