Fjordman, the Norwegian blogger (how sorely his invaluable reports from Scandinavia will be missed when he quits blogging next week) reports that Louise Arbour, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has expressed her concern over the 12 cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad which were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten last September. Ms Arbour says that the UN experts on racism will deal with the matter.
The 56 member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) are currently meeting in Mecca to discuss joint action against Denmark because the Danish government has refused to call Jyllands-Posten to account and restrict the freedom of the Danish press. According to Muslims it is blasphemy to depict the prophet and the paper should apologize for having done so. Eleven Muslim ambassadors to Copenhagen had asked the Danish Prime Minister to ensure that such an apology would be forthcoming.
In a message to the OIC, the UNs High Commissioner for Human Rights states: I understand your concerns and would like to emphasize that I regret any statement or act that could express a lack of respect for the religion of others. In a complaint to the High Commissioner, the 56 Islamic governments asked Louise Arbour to raise the matter with the Danish government to help contain this encroachment on Islam, so the situation will not get out of control. Muslim radicals have threathened to murder the Danish cartoonists and take revenge with bloodshed in Denmark.
According to the director of the Danish Center for Human Rights, Morten Kjærum, the concern of the High Commissioner reflects that the ban on discrimination is one of the most important and general within human rights law, because we know how disastrous it is when different groups are pitted against one another.
Over the past three months this case has become a major international incident. Curiously enough, to our knowledge it has hardly been reported in the non-Danish mainstream media.