In September 2006, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons by various artists lampooning Islam and the prophet Muhammad. In Islam, the mere depiction of the prophet is considered blasphemous. Imagine the anger cartoonish depictions would provoke. The cartoons are on the whole cheaply funny, Islamophobic and in terrifically bad taste, though one showing Muhammad at the gates of heaven telling a string of suicide bombers “Stop, stop! We ran out of virgins!” and another showing a cartoonist fearfully drawing a picture of the prophet speak truths bigger than their offense.
Good or bad, the quality of the cartoons is beside the point. Free expression is by definition unlimited, though not without consequences. It lives and dies by its public reception. When the Islamic Summit Conference gathered in December 2006, the 57-nation body condemned the cartoons and triggered a backlash lasting to this day. What are the cartoons? Here they are in full. Judge for yourself.