EUROPE – A controversial conference on cartoons and satire will be held in the Danish Parliament next month, because no other venues in the city are considered safe enough.
‘The Danish Muhammad cartoon crisis in retrospect’ will take place on 26 September, organised by the Free Press Society.
Speakers include the editor of Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Flemming Rose, Canadian journalist Mark Steyn and British political commentator Douglas Murray.
Rose was responsible for commissioning a number of satirical drawings of Muhammad published in his newspaper in September 2005.
In February this year, three people – two victims and one perpetrator – were killed and five police officers wounded in shootings following an afternoon event called “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression” at the Krudttønden cultural centre in the Danish capital.
Aia Fog, vice chairman of The Free Press Society, said that in the wake of the attacks the safety level of conferences and seminars has been significantly upgraded. She said: “The reason why The Free Press Society has chosen the Danish Parliament as venue of the international conference on the Danish Mohammad Cartoon Crisis is primarily that Flemming Rose will be among the speakers and that we also have invited several of the Mohammad cartoonists to attend the conference. They all live with death threats.
“It is thought provoking though, that the Danish Parliament only has agreed to host the conference if it takes place on a weekend. On week-days the security-level for the conference is considered too high.”
A spokeswoman for Wonderful Copenhagen, the city’s tourism arm, said: “Following the incident in conjunction with a similar event earlier this year, the security around the event was criticised for being insufficient. Events of this kind can be challenging but Copenhagen has a long track record of offering high level security for international events of all sizes.”