Behind the Scenes of the Muhammad Cartoon Crisis

CBS Executive event

Wednesday, February 7, 2007 - 16:00 to 18:00

Presentation in Danish by Naser Khader, the Social Liberal Party

Presentation in Danish by Per Bech Thomsen, author of “The Mohammad Crisis"


In early February 2006, Denmark found itself at the centre of a worldwide diplomatic crisis caused by 12 caricatures of the prophet Muhammad which had been printed in one of the Danish newspapers. Thousands of angry Muslims from London to Lahore protested in the streets, embassies were set ablaze and more than 150 people were killed. Denmark found itself, for a short period of time, caught in the crossfire between democratic and religious traditions.

  • How did a row between a newspaper and the local Muslim community in Århus escalate into a worldwide crisis?

  • Why did it take more than four months from when the cartoons were first printed until it burst into flames – and why did no one notice when an Egyptian newspaper printed some of the cartoons in October 2005?

  • Was it just because Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen declined to meet with 11 Muslim ambassadors and delegations of Danish imams who subsequently travelled to the Middle East to gather support for their protests?

About the Event

Naser Khader and Per Bech Thomsen will provide behind-the-scenes insight into key decisions taken by the Danish government and by the protesting Muslim organizations. They will also discuss some of the consequences of the crisis and the many lessons to be learned. Some Danish business leaders were accused of not defending freedom of expression in order to protect revenues and exports. Is this correct or is it more a question of understanding how to navigate in a multi-cultural global market place?

Religious feelings and traditions, cross-cultural communication and the power of cyberspace are now included in many companies’ risk management plans. Governments and businesses have also realised that public diplomacy and weblogs rather than cocktail parties is the way forward. These issues will also be addressed during the event.

About the Speakers

Naser Khader was born in 1963 in Damascus, Syria and moved with his family to Denmark in 1974. Naser holds a master degree in political science from Copenhagen University. He has been a member of the Social Liberal Party since 1984 and has represented the Eastern Copenhagen district since 2000. Naser has published a number of publications and received innumerable awards. For more information, please visit:

In addition to being the Denmark Bureau Chief for Reuters and writing his new book, Per Bech Thomsen, worked as foreign exchange trader in Copenhagen, Singapore and London (1988-1995). He now runs his own media consultancy, Common Sense Communications (

Light refreshments will be served after the briefing.

Register for the briefing not later Friday, 2 February 2007.

The page was last edited by: Communications // 02/06/2007