[JURIST] A Norwegian court on Monday convicted two men accused of planning an attack against the Danish newspaper that published a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. This is the first conviction under Norway’s anti-terror laws [AP report]. Both defendants, Mikael Davud and Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak, were found guilty in the Oslo district court, and sentenced to seven and three-and-a-half years, respectively. Although cleared of terror charges, David Jakobsen, will serve four months for helping the two defendants acquire explosives. The judge said that Davud orchestrated the attack with al Qaeda. Depicting the Prophet Muhammad is considered blasphemous by Muslims and has been a source of international controversy since 2005 when a Danish newspaper published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a series of cartoons [JURIST news archive].
The caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad have sparked controversy across the globe. In May 2010 the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority [official website] ordered [JURIST report] Internet service providers to block social networking site Facebook [website] in response to a competition created by a group of the website’s members entitled “Draw Muhammad Day.” Also in May, a Danish public prosecutor for the Utrecht District Court filed an appeal against an April ruling [JURIST reports] acquitting the Arab European League (AEL) of hate speech charges stemming from posting an inflammatory cartoon on their website insinuating that the Holocaust was fabricated. The court ruled that publishing the cartoon was not a criminal offense because it was intended to be a contribution to public debate regarding a perceived double standard in the distribution of the Danish Muhammad cartoons.