Denmark’s Nye Borgerlige (New Right) party has announced a fundraising campaign aimed at republishing the scandalous cartoons of the French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo illustrating the Prophet Muhammad. The party, which holds four out of 179 seats in the parliament, linked the campaign to the recent attacks in France over the controversial cartoons, which are deemed as blasphemous by Islam due to violating a ban on depicting the prophet.
"The killing of Samuel Paty triggered the campaign, we want to show our support for his family and for freedom of speech", leader of Nye Borgerlige Pernille Vermund said, referring to the French teacher, who was beheaded by an 18-year-old Muslim man on 16 October for showing the cartoons to pupils during a class on the importance of freedom of speech.
Nye Borgerlige, which opposes open border policies, seeks to raise the money to "publish advertisements with the drawings of Charlie Hebdo" in the country's media outlets, without specifying the nature of the advertisements. Vermund said that it was her "obligation" to ensure that Danish society "goes towards more freedom of speech not less", but noted that she is "not at all certain" that the idea of reprinting Charlie Hebdo's cartoons "will be possible".
Vermund's concerns are not without basis, as a representative of at least one of the country's tabloids, Ekstra Bladet, expressed uncertainty in an interview with the AFP regarding whether it would print the ads or not. The outlet's editor, Poul Madsen, said that Ekstra Bladet condemns terrorism and supports France and the freedom of speech, but will make a decision on printing Nye Borgerlige's advertisements containing the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad when it sees them.
Beheading Attacks Shake France
The Danish New Right party's campaign comes a day after a tragic attack in Nice, France, where a 21-year-old Tunisian migrant, Brahim Aoussaoui, killed two worshippers and a sacristan at the Notre-Dame de Nice basilica, practically beheading one of his victims. Aoussaoui was shouting "Allahu Akbar" when police arrived. The assailant was shot by the officers during the arrest and is currently in hospital. Later the same day, at least two more people armed with knives were arrested in France on suspicion of plotting more stabbing attacks.
The spate of knife killings comes two weeks after an 18-year-old Muslim, Abdullah Anzorov, beheaded schoolteacher Samuel Paty after the latter had shown cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a class on the importance of free speech. The tragic incidents have been condemned by French President Emmanuel Macron as "attacks" against France for its "values [and] taste for freedom" and vowed that the country will never "give in to any terror".