Sunday, February 12, 2006

ME Times: Conveniently Clueless

The Middle East Times delivers to it's readers what has to be the most contrived "Cartoon War" Timeline:

"The chain of events:

Sept 30: Jyllands Posten publishes 12 drawings of the prophet. Several of them associate Islam with terrorism and suicide bombings. One shows Mohammed wearing a turban in the shape of a bomb with a burning fuse.

October: First street protests over the images in Denmark. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen refuses to meet a group of ambassadors from 11 Islamic countries who wish to complain about the pictures.

November: The Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant also publishes the cartoons.

Dec 29: Arab League foreign ministers condemn the publication.

Jan 10: Magazinet, a small Christian paper in Norway, publishes the images citing press freedom.

Jan 26: Saudi Arabia withdraws its ambassador from Denmark.

Jan 30: Jyllands Posten apologizes to Muslims for any offence but defends its right to publish.

Feb 1-3: Newspapers in several other European countries publish some or all of the cartoons, citing freedom of expression. The French newspaper France Soir also runs its own drawing on its front page.

Feb 4: Furious crowds in the Syrian capital Damascus attack the Danish and Norwegian embassies, setting them alight.

Feb 5: One person is killed and 50 injured as a crowd burns down the Danish embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut. The Iraqi transport ministry freezes contracts with Denmark and Norway, and an insurgent group, the Islamic Army in Iraq, urges Muslims to attack Danes and Danish interests, including Danish troops.

Feb 6: At least three people are killed during protests in Afghanistan and demonstrations in Somalia leave at least one dead. Other protests are held in Algeria, Egypt, Indian-held Kashmir, Indonesia, Lebanon, Nigeria, the Palestinian territories and Thailand.

Iran says it will no longer trade with Denmark. Protesters attack the Danish and Austrian embassies in Tehran. Iran's largest selling newspaper, Hamshahri, says it will hold a contest for cartoons on the Holocaust of Jews during World War II.

Denmark advises its nationals to avoid Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Sudan, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. Danish tour operators cancel all trips to Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.

Feb 7: More protests in Islamic countries, and other countries with large Muslim populations, while US President George W. Bush assures Rasmussen of his "support and solidarity".

Russian President Vladimir Putin urges editors to "think 100 times" before publishing such pictures, but German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says the controversy may be exploited to incite unrest in Muslim countries.

At least four more people die in anti-cartoon riots in Afghanistan, and in Tehran protesters attack the Danish and Norwegian embassies.

The United Nations, the European Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference express alarm and urge dialogue and restraint.

Feb 8: Danish members of a peace-monitoring team pull out of the West Bank city of Hebron for fear of reprisals.

The satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo prints all 12 original cartoons. French President Jacques Chirac accuses newspapers of "provocation".

Two Yemeni weeklies are suspended for reprinting the cartoons.

Bush urges governments to quell the response but warns the media over its "responsibility". US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accuses Syria and Iran of inciting violence.

Feb 9: Indonesia cancels a friendly badminton match against Denmark because of security concerns.

The Malaysian government shuts a local newspaper for publishing the cartoons while in Indonesia, police charge the editor of a weekly tabloid with blasphemy for reprinting them.

The radical Islamic Palestinian group Hamas offers to seek to calm anger among Muslims but tells the West to "change its attitudes".

The culture editor of Jyllands-Posten, Flemming Rose, is sent on holiday for an indefinite period by his boss.

Feb 10: Police in Egypt fire tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators, injuring 30. In Nairobi, police fire tear gas at flag-burning protesters. There are protests across Asia after Friday prayers, including Malaysia, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, as well as in Turkey.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi blames Western nations for a "huge chasm" between the West and Islam.

A leading Iranian cleric praises Muslim "holy rage" while the radical group Islamic Jihad threatens to "burn the ground" beneath anyone who makes a future "attack" on the prophet.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair says he regrets the offence caused, but insists nothing justifies the violent backlash.

Denmark's ambassador to Damascus leaves Syria because protection has been reduced to an "unacceptably low level," its foreign ministry says.

Feb 11: Denmark's ambassadors to Iran and Indonesia also leave because of threats against them."

Not a hint as to why the Jyllands-Posten published the caricatures.

Not a word about the Danish Imams leading a delegation to stir up protest in the Middle East and other Muslim countries. Not a thing about what any Muslim group, governmental or private, was demanding as satisfaction for the offense taken. No mention of Damascus (31 Jan) or Iran (5 Feb) recalling their ambassadors.

That an Egyptian newspaper republishing the cartoons without any ensuing protest and that an Jordan newspaper also published the cartoons in the first week of February also escaped their attention.

No Boycott.

No fake cartoons.

Have I scratched the surface of this pitiful attempt to inform, yet? Feel free to continue to fill in MET's admission that they sleep half of the day away.

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