Sudan boycotts Danish goods

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Scan of the cartoons as printed on page 3 of the "KulturWeekend" section of Jyllands-Posten's September 30, 2005, edition.

The country of Sudan has initiated an official boycott of Danish products, after the controversial Muhammad cartoons have been reprinted by a series of newspapers in Denmark and other European countries. Yesterday, President Omar al-Bashir expressed his concerns at a government-backed rally in the nation's capital, requesting that all Muslims in the world take a stand against Denmark by boycotting “businesses, institutions and individuals,” adding that “no Danes shall ever again be able to set foot in Sudan,” however, no Danish emergency workers in the country have yet been asked to leave.

The crisis, which appeared to have been averted two years ago after a near-omnipresent boycott of Danish goods in the Middle East and other Muslim countries, has re-surfaced after three men were apprehended earlier this month, charged with plotting to murder the cartoonist of what is considered the most offensive caricature, portraying the prophet Muhammad with a turban in the shape of a bomb on his head. Two of the men, both Tunisian citizens, have since been expelled from the country.

Considering dropping financial backing

Several Danish politicians have openly suggested dropping the development aid offered to Sudan. The Danish Minister of Development understands the concerns expressed by party associates and states that she cannot promise not to take action. The strongly-nationalist party, the Danish People's Party, has stated that any financial support to the country should cease immediately. Other politicians, especially members of the opposition social democratic party believe that removing the financial support to Sudan will only hurt the refugees in the Darfur and other poor regions of the country, rather than the government and people of the capital, Khartoum.

In addition, the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Per Stig Møller, has also stated, that Sudanese government might want to reconsider their methods, if they wish to become members of the World Trade Organization, which the nation has previously stated its interests in. The organisation does not permit consumer boycotts of other countries by its members.

Since the cartoons were published by 17 Danish newspapers earlier this month—along with a number of foreign ones—there have been demonstrations and attacks on Danish embassies and consulates in Pakistan, Jordan and Indonesia.

The Sudanese boycotts and demonstrations throughout the Muslim world have already claimed the first jobs at Arla, the main Danish provider of dairy products, who has seen itself forced to fire 8–10 employees due to lowered demand.