23 April 2010
A court in Utrecht, in the Netherlands, has acquitted a Muslim organization of inciting hate with a cartoon that questions the Holocaust. The Arab European League (AEL), which published the cartoon on its website, was cleared of insulting Jews because the court said the cartoon was not aiming to dispute the Holocaust but to highlight perceived double standards in free speech. The AEL cartoon shows two men, beneath an 'Auschwitz' sign and beside several bodies, saying the victims might not have been Jewish but the target was six million.
The AEL said the cartoon was part of a campaign it launched in 2006 to show the double standards in the Western world during the Danish cartoon affair. The image was published with a disclaimer on the website saying the AEL did not support the views expressed by the cartoon. "The context in which this cartoon was published takes away from its criminally offensive nature," the court said in a ruling.
A cartoon in a Danish newspaper in 2005 showing Islam's Prophet Mohammad with a bomb in his turban sparked violent protests in Muslim countries. The backlash prompted the newspaper to apologize, but the Danish government defended its right to freedom of expression. The AEL did not complain about the republication of the Prophet Mohammad cartoons in the Netherlands but argued its own cartoon was meant to show that other religious communities were also sensitive about certain images.
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