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The cartoon crisis: a test of free speech or retaliation?

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The cartoon crisis: a test of free speech or retaliation?


Iran’s best-selling daily newspaper has launched a competition to reward a cartoon about the Holocaust. The newspaper, “HamShahri”, says it is in retaliation to the publication of satirical cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed in a Danish journal. Cartoonist Davoud Kazemi claims it is a true test of the boundaries of free speech: “For us there is a red line not to trespass. But they did it in the West with the cartoons. Now it’s our turn to challenge you, to produce cartoons about the alleged historical fact of the Holocaust.” The idea has shocked the international community, with the White House denouncing it as “scandalous.”

The Danish Prime Minister, Anders Rasmussen, has urged Iran to protect any Danish interests threatened by violence as a result of the crisis: “We are today facing a global crisis that has the potential to escalate beyond the control of governments and other authorities. Right now, radicals, extremists and fanatics are adding fuel to the flames in order to push forward their own agenda.” It comes after hundreds of angry protestors marched on the Danish Embassy in Tehran for the second successive day. The Embassy was again pelted with stones and petrol bombs. Some demonstrators managed to climb over the wall and into the compound.
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