Last updated: March 21, 2006 11:00 am

Timeline: How the cartoon crisis unfolded

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Sep 17 2005: Politiken, a Danish newspaper, runs an article under the headline ”Deep fear of criticism of Islam”, detailing the difficulty encountered by the writer Kåre Bluitgen, who had difficulties finding an illustrator for his children’s book on the life of Mohammed.

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Sep 30: Jyllands-Posten, one of Denmark’s best-selling daily newspapers, publishes 12 cartoons of the prophet to illustrate the problem.

Oct 12: Ambassadors from 10 mainly Muslim nations and the Palestinian representative in Denmark call the cartoons deeply offensive and demand a meeting with prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, urging him “to take all those responsible to task”.

Oct 21: Mr Rasmussen says offended parties should use the courts to air their grievances and refuses to meet the ambassadors.

Oct 28: A coalition of Danish Muslim groups files a criminal complaint against Jyllands-Posten newspaper. A regional prosecutor investigates the complaint, but decides not to press charges.

Dec: The Danish Muslim coalition visits the Middle East. seeking support from religious and political leaders.

Jan 1 2006: Mr Rasmussen condemns any actions that “attempt to demonise groups of people on the basis of their religion or ethnic background,’’ but reiterates Denmark’s commitment to freedom of speech.

Jan 4: Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the Arab League, joins the protests.

Jan 10: Magazinet, a Norwegian Christian newspaper, reprints the cartoons.

J an 25: Saudi Arabia’s religious leaders demand an apology and call for the Jyllands-Posten newspaper to be punished.

Jan 26: Saudi ambassador is recalled from Copenhagen. Danish companies in Riyadh report a boycott of Danish goods and supermarkets remove products from the shelves.

Jan 27: Protests begin to spread across the Middle East

Jan 30: Jyllands-Posten publishes a statement on its website, saying it regretted offending Muslims and offered an apology, but said it had a right under Danish law to print the cartoons.

Jan 31: Mr Rasmussen calls for calm in the dispute, but the Danish Muslims group say the Jyllands-Posten apology is “ambiguous” and demands a clearer one.

Feb 1 - 2: Media in France, Germany, Britain, Spain, the US, Iceland, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Hungary, reprint the cartoons.

Feb 2: France Soir, a Paris daily tabloid, sacks its managing editor for publishing the drawings, but defends its right to print them. In Jordan, the weekly newspaper Shihan’ publishes them with an editorial by former Jordanian senator Jihad Momani but later withdraws issues from circulation.

Feb 3: Danish prime minister meets ambassadors and diplomats from more than 70 countries. Mona Omar Attia, Egypt’s ambassador says the Danish government’s response is inadequate.

Feb 4: A South African court prohibits newspapers from publishing the cartoons. Protesters in Damascus attack the Danish and Norwegian embassies. Mr Momani and Mr Hisham Khalid, editor of al-Mehwar, another Jordanian weekly that published the cartoons, are arrested and charged with insulting religion

Feb 5: Protestors storm the Danish Embassy in Beirut. One person is left dead and several are injured. Iran recalls its ambassador to Denmark. Denmark says it is withdrawing diplomatic staff from Syria and recommending Danes leave the country. Norway confirms it is taking the same action with diplomatic staff in Syria.

Feb 6: Lebanon apologises to Denmark. EU leaders call for calm. Protests erupt in Afghanistan where one person died. Danish and Austrian embassies attacked in Tehran.

Feb 7: Peter Mandelson, EU trade chief, warns Iran against suspension of trade with Denmark. Norwegian NATO peacekeepers attacked in Afghanistan as demonstrations escalate. Austria, holders of the EU presidency, demand Muslim states improve security measures for European citizens and premises after Norwegian embassy is attacked in Tehran.

Feb 8: The US accused Syria and Iran of inciting violence among Muslims over caricatures. Three more people were killed in fresh protests in Afghanistan and French President Jacques Chirac condemned “overt provocations” as Charlie Hebdo, the satirical weekly, reprinted the images.

Feb 9: The international row spilled over into the creation of a new UN Human Rights Council. Hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims turned a religious ceremony in Lebanon into an anti-western cartoon protest.

Feb 10: Danish embassies are targeted in both Kenya - where police fire live rounds and teargas at hundreds of protesting Muslims - and in Bangladesh, where Indian police clash with about 10,000 people.

Feb 11 Denmark recalls ambassadors and embassy staff from Syria, Indonesia and Iran over security concerns.

Feb 12: Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, said violence sparked by the cartoons could get out of control and urged governments, especially Iran and Syria, to “act responsibly” and refrain from encouraging demonstrations.

Feb 13 Kofi Annan, UN secretary-general, said that Iran, Syria and other governments that failed to protect foreign embassies from mobs should pay for the damage.

Feb 14 Jose Manuel Barroso, EU Commission chief, backed Denmark, saying that freedom of speech cannot be compromised. But in fresh violence, two people were killed in the Pakistani city of Lahore, despite a province-wide ban on demonstrations. German embassy attacked in Tehran.

Feb 15 Three more people died in violence as outlets of the Norwegian phone company Telenor, a US KFC fast food restaurant and banks were ransacked and set alight in Pakistan.

Feb 16 Protests continue in Pakistan, where up to 50,000 rallied in Karachi.

Feb 17 A Pakistani cleric offers rewards of over $1m for anyone who kills the Danish cartoonists. In India police clash with several thousand Muslim protestors, using tear gas to disperse crowds. In Islamabad violent protests cause Denmark to announce that it is closing its embassy due to security concerns.

Feb 18 Nigerian Muslims attack Christians and burned churches, killing at least 15 people in the deadliest confrontation yet in the whirlwind of Muslim anger.

Feb 19 Denmark recalls its ambassador from Pakistan.

Feb 20 Hundreds arrested after Pakistan cartoons rally

Mar 9 Amr Khaled, Egyptian Muslim preacher and television superstar, organised a conference in Denmark in a first high-profile religious effort to turn the page on the controversy.

Mar 15 British police arrests five over protests on Feb 3. for waving placards with slogans such as “Massacre those who insult Islam” and “Europe you will pay, your 9/11 will come.”

Mar 17 A network of Danish Muslim organisations will bring Denmark before an international human rights court for not pressing charges against the newspaper that first published the images.

Mar 21 Laila Freivalds, Swedish foreign minister, resigns following a dispute over the closure of a website with images of the Prophet Mohammed. Swedish law states that such pressure violates constitutional guarantees of free speech.

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