Danish Muslims sue newspaper over cartoons

/ Source: The Associated Press

A group of 27 Danish Muslim organizations have filed a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper that first published the caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, their lawyer said Thursday.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday, two weeks after Denmark’s top prosecutor declined to press criminal charges, saying the drawings that sparked a firestorm in the Muslim world did not violate laws against racism or blasphemy.

Michael Christiani Havemann, a lawyer representing the Muslim groups, said lawsuit sought $16,100 in damages from Jyllands-Posten Editor in Chief Carsten Juste and Culture Editor Flemming Rose, who supervised the cartoon project.

“We’re seeking judgment for both the text and the drawings which were gratuitously defamatory and injurious,” Havemann said.

The lawsuit was filed in the western city of Aarhus, where Jyllands-Posten is based.

The newspaper published the 12 cartoons on Sept. 30, saying it was challenging self-censorship among artists afraid to offend Islam. The drawings were later reprinted in other Western media, mostly in Europe, in the name of free speech and news value.

The Danish newspaper apologized for offending Muslims after violent protests erupted throughout the Islamic world, but stood by its decision to print the drawings, citing freedom of speech.