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Netherlands: Dutch cartoonist faces prison for drawing up Islamic cartoons

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ExtremeCentre.org » L’Islam: pas marrant pour un caricaturiste hollandais menacé de prison: Blog Politique Francophone pour les Libertés Fondamentales et Contre Tous les Totalitarismes, qu’ils soient de Droite ou de Gauche

“I never expected the Spanish Inquisition,” recalls the cartoonist, who goes by the nom de plume Gregorius Nekschot, quoting the British comedy team Monty Python. A fan of ribald gags, he’s a caustic foe of religion, particularly Islam. The Quran, crucifixion, sexual organs and goats are among his favorite motifs.

Mr. Nekschot, whose cartoons had appeared mainly on his own Web site, spent the night in a jail cell. Police grabbed his computer, a hard drive and sketch pads. He’s been summoned for further questioning later this month by prosecutors. He hasn’t been charged with a crime, but the prosecutor’s office says he’s been under investigation for three years on suspicion that he violated a Dutch law that forbids discrimination on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation.

(…) “This is serious. It is about freedom of speech,” says Mark Rutte, the leader of a center-right opposition party. Some of Mr. Nekschot’s oeuvre is “really disgusting,” he says, “but that is free speech.”

(…) Mr. Nekschot, who calls the investigation “surreal,” says, “Not even Monty Python could have come up with this.” (His pen name, Gregorius Nekschot, is a mocking tribute to Gregory IX, a 13th-century pope who set up a Vatican department to hunt down and execute heretics. Nekschot means “shot in the neck” in Dutch.) Some Muslim groups have voiced dismay at his arrest as well. The head of an organization of Moroccan preachers in Holland said authorities seemed “more afraid” of offending Islam than Muslims.

Curiously, he never was menaced with legal punishment for drawing Crucifixes.

These extremists have always the same kind of effect: the cartoonist is known thanks to them. Who knew about Jyllands-Posten before the Danish cartoons?

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Written by Claudia

July 15, 2008 at 11:01 am

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