Danish paper refused to print Christ cartoons

JYLLANDS-POSTEN, the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed that have caused fury throughout the Islamic world, refused to run drawings lampooning Jesus Christ, it emerged yesterday.

The Danish daily turned down the cartoons three years ago, on the grounds that they could be offensive and were not funny.

In April 2003, Danish illustrator Christoffer Zieler submitted a series of unsolicited cartoons dealing with the resurrection of Christ to Jyllands-Posten.

He received an email from the paper’s Sunday editor, Jens Kaiser, which said: “I don’t think Jyllands-Posten’s readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an outcry. Therefore, I will not use them.”

The illustrator told the Norwegian daily Dagbladet: “I see the cartoons as an innocent joke, of the type that my Christian grandfather would enjoy.

“I showed them to a few pastors and they thought they were funny.”

He said he felt Jyllands-Posten rated the feelings of its Christian readers higher than that of its Muslim readers.

But Mr Kaiser said the case was “ridiculous to bring forward now. It has nothing to do with the Mohammed cartoons.

“In the Mohammed drawings case, we asked the illustrators to do it. I did not ask for these cartoons. That’s the difference,” he said.

“The illustrator thought his cartoons were funny. I did not think so. It would offend some readers, not much but some.”

Meanwhile, the editor of a Malaysian newspaper resigned over the weekend after printing one of the Mohammed cartoons.

Malaysia’s Sunday Tribune, based in the remote state of Sarawak on Borneo island, ran one of the Danish cartoons on Saturday.

It illustrated an article about the lack of impact of the controversy in Malaysia, which has a majority Muslim population.

The newspaper expressed “profound regret over the unauthorised publication”, in a front page statement on Sunday.

“Our internal inquiry revealed that the editor on duty, who was responsible for the same publication, had done it all alone by himself without authority in compliance with the prescribed procedures as required for such news,” it said.

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