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Lawmaker Brings Back Contest That Angers Many Muslims

Geert Wilders revives the Mohammed cartoon competition
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2019 12:02 PM CST
In this file photo dated Saturday, May 18, 2019, Geert Wilders, leader of Dutch Party for Freedom speaks during a rally ahead of the May European Parliamentary elections, in Milan, Italy.   (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, FILE)
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(Newser) – Nothing like a good contest caricaturing the Prophet Mohammad—if you're a firebrand politician, that is. Far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders said Saturday he was reviving a contest for Mohammad cartoons after he had dropped such a plan last year amid fear of attacks, Reuters reports. "Freedom of speech must prevail over violence and Islamic fatwas," said the head of the Netherlands' main opposition party. Wilders nixed the earlier contest last August after a man was arrested for planning to murder him over his anti-Islam positions. A day after the cancellation, an Afghan man attacked two US tourists in Amsterdam, saying he sought to "protect the Prophet Mohammed"; he got 26 years in prison, per France 24.

Then Sunday, Wilders tweeted that the contest was over and he had a winner—a particularly dark, menacing image of Mohammad that resembled an action-movie villain, per the Independent. "Mission accomplished," Wilders wrote. "End of contest." The backstory to all this extends at least to 2015, when Islamist gunmen in Paris murdered 12 people at the magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had published Mohammed caricatures. Ten years earlier, a Danish newspaper ran Mohammad cartoons that triggered protests in the Muslim world and attempts to murder the paper's editor and cartoonist. Wilder's 2018 contest sparked demonstrations, as well. Many Muslims consider images of Mohammad offensive or even blasphemous. (Read more Islam stories.)

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