ARLA FOODS AND THE CARTOON CRISIS
In early February 2006, Astrid Nielsen, Group Communications Director of Arla
Foods, faced the greatest crisis of her career. Tens of thousands of Muslims in cities
around the world had taken to the streets to protest the publication of caricatures of
Muhammad by a Danish newspaper. The caricatures, which most Muslims viewed as
blasphemous and offensive, prompted some to attack Danish embassies and
businesses. In several countries, protests turned deadly.
Saudi Arabia was able to avoid much of the violence seen elsewhere. Instead,
consumers protested by boycotting Danish products. For Arla Foods, which owned a
large dairy in Saudi, the result was nothing short of disastrous. As other countries
began to join the boycott, Nielson wondered what, if anything, her company could do
to mitigate the total loss of Arla’s Middle Eastern business.
Arla Foods, a co-operative owned by 10,000 milk producers in Denmark and Sweden,
was formed in 2000 through the merger of MD Foods of Denmark and Arla of
Sweden. Arla was Europe’s second largest dairy company, with 58 processing plants
in Scandinavia and Britain, and annual revenues of nearly $8 billion. It enjoyed a near
monopoly on domestic dairy products, with market shares of between 80 and 90
percent in most categories. The UK was the company’s largest market, accounting for
33 percent of total sales, followed by Sweden and Denmark at 22 percent and 19
percent respectively. The rest of Europe accounted for another 13 percent.
Outside Europe, the Middle East was Arla’s most important market (see Table 1). The
company exported approximately 55,000 tons of dairy products from Denmark and
Sweden to Saudi Arabia, and produced around 30,000 tons through its Danya Foods
subsidiary in Riyadh. Local production was based mainly on non-perishable goods and
included processed cheese, milk and fruit drinks. In Saudi Arabia, which accounted for
70 percent of total Middle East sales, the company’s Lurpak, Puck and Three Cows
brands were market leaders in butter, cream, dairy spread and feta categories. Other
important Middle East markets included Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab
This case was written from public sources by David Wesley under the direction of Professors Henry
W. Lane and Mikael Sondergaard for the purpose of class discussion. The authors do not intend to
demonstrate either effective or ineffective handling of management situations.
Copyright © 2007 Northeastern University, College of Business Administration
Arla Foods: Middle East Key Facts
Danish Expatriate Workers
Average Annual Growth
Other overseas markets included Argentina and Brazil, where Arla produced cheese
and whey products. Arla also exported significant qualities of Danish cheese to Japan,
and milk powder to less developed countries in Asia and Latin America. In North
America, Arla cheeses were produced under a licensing agreement.
THE MUHAMMAD CARTOONS CRISIS
Terrorism and Self-Censorship
In 2004, controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh produced a short film on
Islam titled “Submission.”2 The 10 minute documentary, written by Dutch Member of
Parliament Hirsi Ali, featured the stories of four abused Arab women. It intentionally
provoked some Muslims by showing a woman dressed in a semi-transparent burqa,
under which verses from the Qur'an were projected on her skin.
After the film was shown on Dutch public television on August 29, 2004, van Gogh
and Ali began to receive death threats. Then, on November 2, 2004 Van Gogh was
murdered while riding his bicycle in downtown Amsterdam.3 The assailant attached a
note to his body calling for Jihad against “infidel” America and Europe and
threatening a similar fate for Ali.
Van Gogh’s murder created broad awareness of his film, which was subsequently
rebroadcast on Italian and Danish public television and widely distributed on the
Internet. In Denmark, tension was already high following another well publicized
incident in which a lecturer at the University of Copenhagen was assaulted by five
Muslim youths for reading the Qur’an to non-Muslims.4 The killing of Van Gogh only
served to heighten the cultural distance between Muslim immigrants and native born
Danes. Although most Europeans decried the violence of radical Islamists, many
publishers, authors, and artists were reluctant to participate in projects that could
offend Muslims and invite the wrath of terrorists.
Most of Arla’s non-Danish staff was comprised of Muslim migrant workers from less developed countries. Many
entered Saudi Arabia as Hajj pilgrims and remained in the country at the end of their pilgrimage.
Submission is the English translation of the word Islam.
Gunman kills Dutch film director, BBC News, November 2, 2004
Overfaldet efter Koran-læsning, TV 2 (Denmark), October 9, 2004.
Fear and Self-Censorship
In the summer of 2005, Danish author Kåre Bluitgen decided to write a children’s
book on the life of the Prophet Muhammad. He had hoped that such a book would
help Danish children learn the story of Islam and thereby bridge the growing gap
between Danes and Muslim immigrants. Yet the illustrators who collaborated with
Bluitgen on other books feared reprisals from extremists and, therefore, refused to
participate.5 They understood, perhaps better than Bluitgen, that graphical depictions
of Muhammad were considered blasphemous by many Muslims.6
Bluitgen eventually found an artist willing to illustrate his book anonymously.
However, when the culture editor of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten heard
Bluitgen’s story, he was incensed. “This was the culmination of a series of disturbing
instances of self-censorship,” Flemming Rose later wrote.
Three people turned down the job for fear of consequences. The person
who finally accepted insisted on anonymity, which in my book is a
form of self-censorship. European translators of a critical book about
Islam also did not want their names to appear on the book cover beside
the name of the author, a Somalia-born Dutch politician who has
herself been in hiding.7
Danish Cartoons: Muhammad As You See Him
To counter what he saw as a move against free speech, Rose invited 40 artists to
submit drawings of “Muhammad, as you see him.” Twelve artists responded,
including three members of the Jyllands-Posten staff. When the cartoons first appeared
on September 30, 2005, Rose wrote in the accompanying article,
The modern, secular society is rejected by some Muslims. They
demand a special position, insisting on special consideration of their
own religious feelings. It is incompatible with contemporary
democracy and freedom of speech, where you must be ready to put up
with insults, mockery and ridicule… We are on our way to a slippery
slope where no-one can tell how the self-censorship will end. That is
why Jyllands-Posten has invited members of the Danish editorial
cartoonists union to draw Muhammad as they see him.8
Allah und der Humor, Die Zeit, January 2, 2006
Not all Muslims agree on the interpretation of Muslim scholars who have issued fatwas against images of the
prophet Muhammad. Some argue that Islam has a centuries old tradition of paintings of Muhammad and other
religious figures. The more famous of these continue to be displayed in palaces and museums in various Muslim
countries, including Iran. Source: Bonfire of the Pieties: Islam prohibits neither images of Muhammad nor jokes about
religion, The Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2006
7 The Dutch politician refers to Hirsi Ali, who collaborated with Theo Van Gogh on the film Submission. Why I
Published Those Cartoons, Jyllands-Posten, February 19, 2006
Translated from Muhammeds ansigt, Jyllands-Posten, September 29, 2005
Two weeks after the publication of the 12 cartoons, Danish imams organized a protest
in downtown Copenhagen. More than 3,000 Danish Muslim immigrants gathered to
show their disapproval of the cartoons. The most offensive cartoon, in their opinion,
featured Muhammad wearing a turban filled with explosives. On the turban was
written the Shahādah (Islamic creed),9 while a lit fuse emerged from the back of his
Another image featured a schoolboy named Muhammad scribbling a message in
Farsi10 on a blackboard. “The editorial team of Jyllands-Posten is a bunch of
reactionary provocateurs,” it states. Ironically, artist Lars Refn was targeted by both
sides in the ensuing quarrel. He was the first artist to receive death threats, while at the
same time secular free speech advocates accused him of cowardice for not drawing the
prophet. In apparent defense of Refn’s decision to not draw the prophet, Rose
explained in an editorial,
I wrote to members of the association of Danish cartoonists asking
them ‘to draw Muhammad as you see him.’ We certainly did not ask
them to make fun of the prophet.11
A few days later, eleven ambassadors from Islamic countries sought a meeting with
Danish Prime Minister Anders Rasmussen to demand government action against the
cartoons. The Prime Minister refused, noting that such a meeting would violate the
principles of Danish democracy. “As prime minister I have no tool whatsoever to take
actions against the media, and I don't want that kind of tool,” he replied.12
Cartoons Circulated Abroad
Meanwhile, Danish imam Abu Laban decided to take matters into his own hands. He
sent a Muslim delegation on a tour of Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria, where dignitaries,
religious leaders, and journalists were shown the cartoons. The greatest stir, however,
was not caused by the Danish cartoons, but by three additional images that were far
more graphic and offensive than those published by the newspaper.13 While the origin
of the three additional images was unknown, within days they were circulated on
Islamic websites and chat rooms, causing outrage among Muslims who thought they
had been published in Danish newspapers.14
The Shahādah is the declaration of belief in the oneness of God and in Muhammad as his messenger. Recitation of
the Shahādah is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam by Sunni Muslims. In English the Shahādah reads:
“There is no god but God and Muhammad is his messenger.”
Farsi is a Persian language spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, and several other Middle Eastern countries.
Why I Published Those Cartoons, Jyllands-Posten, February 19, 2006
The Danish Cartoon Crisis: The Import and Impact of Public Diplomacy, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, April 5,
Anatomy of a Global Crisis, The Sunday Herald (Scotland), February 12, 2006
Child's tale led to clash of cultures, The Guardian Unlimited, February 4, 2006
In December, the cartoons were circulated among heads of state at a Summit of the
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Saudi Arabia. The OIC later issued a
statement calling on the Prime Minister of Denmark to apologize. When he refused,
the OIC’s secretary general for Islamic education and culture urged the organization’s
51 member states to boycott Danish products until they received an apology.15 Since
the entire Middle East accounted for less than one percent of Denmark’s exports,
Danes showed little concern over the threat of a boycott. Moreover, a poll conducted
in late January by the Epinion Research Institute found that 79 percent of Danes
supported the Prime Minister’s decision to not apologize for the cartoons.16
Outside of Denmark, the OIC found wider support. United Nations human-rights
commissioner Louise Arbour proclaimed her “alarm” at the “unacceptable disregard
for the beliefs of others.” Both the Council of Europe and the Arab League condemned
European Media Reprint Cartoons
When the OIC called on Muslim countries to boycott Danish products (see “Arla and
the OIC Boycott” below), many Europeans saw it as an attack on free speech. In
protest, newspapers and magazines across Europe began reprinting the cartoons.
Between the beginning of January and early February, the original cartoons appeared
in more than 50 European newspapers and magazines. Prominent periodicals, such as
France’s Le Monde and Germany’s Die Welt, displayed some of the images on their
In explaining his reason for reprinting the cartoons, the editor of Le Monde stated, “A
Muslim may well be shocked by a picture of Mohammed, especially an ill-intentioned
one. But a democracy cannot start policing people’s opinions, except by trampling the
rights of man underfoot.”18 Likewise, the Economist, which did not reprint the
cartoons, stated that European newspapers had a “responsibility” to show “solidarity”
In the Netherlands two years ago a film maker was murdered for daring
to criticize Islam. Danish journalists have received death threats. In a
climate in which political correctness has morphed into fear of physical
attack, showing solidarity may well be the responsible thing for a free
press to do. And the decision, of course, must lie with the press, not
Muslim organization calls for boycott of Denmark, The Copenhagen Post, December 28, 2006
OIC Demands Unqualified Danish Apology, Arab News, January 29, 2006
Prophetic insults, The Economist, January 5, 2006
France’s Le Monde Publishes Front-Page Cartoon Of Mohammed, Agence France-Presse (AFP), February 2,
Cartoon wars, The Economist, February 9, 2006
For many Muslims, the reprinting of the cartoons was seen as further provocation.
Some protested peacefully, while others reacted with violence. In some countries,
buildings were set ablaze and shops selling European goods were vandalized. In
Lebanon and Syria, the Danish and Norwegian embassies were firebombed.
Elsewhere, clashes with police and security forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other
countries left as many as 300 people dead (see Exhibit 1). In northern Nigeria,
Muslims went on a rampage, burning churches, shops, and cars belonging to the
Christian minority. The violence left scores of dead and as many as 10,000 homeless.20
ARLA AND THE OIC BOYCOTT
At first, Arla viewed the cartoon crisis more as a security concern than an economic
one. “It will be a serious blow to us if the situation becomes so grave that we are
forced to withdraw our Danish workers,” explained Arla Executive Director Finn
Our tremendous success in Saudi Arabia is thanks in large part to the
fact that over the past 20 years, we’ve kept a number of our most
talented managers constantly stationed in the country. It will hurt our
credibility to pull out our Danish workers, and in the long term, it will
impact sales. But I don't think things will get that bad. The Irish and
Dutch dairies we compete with in Saudi Arabia are keeping their
workers down there for now as well. Consumers in Saudi Arabia will
continue to buy food, regardless of the terror threat. So I don’t think our
customer base will disappear.21
However, within a few weeks it became clear than Arla had underestimated the threat
to its business. In Saudi Arabia, its products were featured in news stories about the
boycott campaign and religious leaders across the country called on worshipers to
avoid Danish goods. By the end of January 2006, Danish products were removed from
store shelves, replaced with signs stating “Danish products were here.” Egypt, Kuwait,
Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates soon joined the boycott (see Exhibit 2
for a timeline of key events).
The boycott also aroused the anger of many local Muslims, some of whom threatened
and harassed Arla employees as they went to and from work. In two separate
incidents, workers were physically assaulted as they removed banned Arla products
from store shelves. As a result, Arla provided employees with additional security
In early February, Iran became the first country to officially sever all economic ties
with Denmark.22 It made a further symbolic gesture by renaming domestically
Although the latest hostility was sparked by the cartoon crisis, ethnic violence has been part of an ongoing conflict
that has claimed 10,000 lives in Nigeria since 1999. Nigerian religious riots continue, BBC News, February 24, 2006
Terror threaten dairy exports, The Copenhagen Post, January 7, 2006
EU warns Iran over boycott of Danish goods, China Daily, February 8, 2006
produced Danish pastries as “Roses of the Prophet Muhammad.”23 “The Commerce
Ministry will not allow Danish brands or products which have been registered in
Denmark to clear customs,” announced Iranian Commerce Minister Massoud MirKazemi.
Iranian importers, including state-affiliated organs and companies, have
three months to designate substitute products for Danish goods and
then we will enforce the law. All on-going negotiations or contracts
with Denmark which are pending will also suspended, and all signed
contracts will be reviewed. The exchange of delegations between the
two countries will be suspended until further notice.24
The rapid deterioration in relations between Denmark and the Middle East stunned
Arla Foods executives. Although they had been monitoring the situation since the
cartoons were first published, the boycott “was hard to foresee,” Nielsen explained.
Some of our customers are extremely influential and powerful people.
One of the retailers owns a large chain of grocery stores and he is
extremely religious. Everyone else looks to see how he will react...
We were in constant contact with our customers, and they never
suggested that they were going to boycott our products. But they had to
react when the religious community told them to. Even after the
boycott was announced, retailers said to us “We want to do business
with you, but we can’t.”
The immediate impact of the boycott was extensive. “Our business has been
completely undermined,” Hansen lamented. “Our products have been taken off the
shelves in 50,000 stores. Without a quick solution, we will lose our business in the
Middle East.”25 Meanwhile, Arla was losing sales worth $1.5 million per day, or about
eight percent of the company’s worldwide revenues.26
Other companies preemptively distanced themselves from the cartoons. Switzerlandbased Nestlé bought front-page advertisements in Arab newspapers to explain that its
powdered milk was “neither produced in nor imported from Denmark.” French
supermarket giant Carrefour went further, removing Danish products from store
shelves with a notice declaring “solidarity with the Islamic community.” Other signs
read “Carrefour doesn’t carry Danish products.”27
European Criticism: “The Right to Offend”
Iran targets Danish pastries, Aljazeera.net, February 17, 2006
Iran bans import of Danish products, Islamic Republic News Agency (Iran), February 6, 2006
Muslim protest spreads to Danish butter, The Sunday Times, February 3, 2006
Danish Companies Endure Snub by Muslim Consumers, The New York Times, February 27, 2006
Carrefour JV with MAF in Egypt halts sale of Danish products, AFX News Limited, February 3, 2006
In Europe, some viewed attempts by European companies to show “solidarity” with
Muslim protesters as cowardice. At a Berlin rally, Hirsi Ali, who rarely made public
appearances in the face of the numerous threats against her life, expressed outrage. “I
am here to defend the right to offend,” she proclaimed.
Shame on those European companies in the Middle East that advertised
“we are not Danish” or “we don’t sell Danish products”. This is
cowardice. Nestlé chocolates will never taste the same after this, will
they? The EU member states should compensate Danish companies for
the damage they have suffered from boycotts. Liberty does not come
cheap. A few million Euros are worth paying for the defense of free
European Union President José Manuel Barroso also felt it his duty to uphold the
principles of free speech. “I have spoken with the Prime Minister of Denmark and
expressed [our] solidarity,” he noted.
I want to send my solidarity to the people of Denmark as well; a people
who rightly enjoy the reputation as being amongst the most open and
tolerant, not just in Europe, but in the world. Our European society is
based on respect for the individual person’s life and freedom, equality
of rights between men and women, freedom of speech and a clear
distinction between politics and religion. Our point of departure is that
as human beings we are free, independent, equal and responsible. We
must safeguard these principles. Freedom of speech is part of Europe’s
values and traditions. Let me be clear. Freedom of speech is not
The Crisis and Communications Group
As the seriousness of the boycott progressed, Arla CEO Peter Tuborgh decided to
convene an emergency meeting with senior executives, dubbed “The Crisis and
Communications Group.” Earlier in his career, Tuborgh had worked in Saudi Arabia
for four years as an operations manager. He understood the seriousness of the boycott,
but he also felt that the company should not stray in any way from its global mission
statement (see Exhibit 3). Any action taken by Arla would need to be consistent with
the company’s overall vision and reflect its values.
Jens Refslund, director of Arla's Production Division, suggested that the company
needed to act quickly to cut production to reduce costs. He explained,
From a speech titled “The Right to Offend” given in Berlin on February 9, 2006.
EU President Barroso’s Statement On The Issue Of The Cartoons Of Prophet Muhammad, Press and Public Diplomacy
Delegation of the European Commission, February 15, 2006
Once sales in the Middle East have come to a standstill, it will
inevitably have consequences for production. A decision about what we
do next must be taken within the next few days.30
Refslund estimated that the company would need to layoff as much as one third of the
staff at a havarti cheese plant in Denmark, or approximately 50 employees. To avoid
delays, negotiations with the dairy workers’ union needed to begin immediately.
Moreover, numerous Scandinavian dairy farmers faced a loss of some of their income
if the Middle East market remained closed to Danish dairy products.
Nielsen expressed concern about the company’s ability to recover from the crisis.
One billion customers have rejected our products because it has
suddenly become a synonym for the insult to the Prophet Mohammed.
What can we do? We can’t edit newspapers, we can’t comment on
government actions, we can’t get involved in politics and we certainly
can’t address religion.
Nevertheless, Finn Hansen, who had responsibility for the Middle East, remained
hopeful. He believed that in order for Arla to recover, it had to communicate with the
Arla has been producing dairy products in Saudi Arabia for so long that
we believe the authorities consider us a local dairy. It is not enough to
persuade the supermarket chains to put our products back on the
shelves. We should take our message directly to the consumer.
Arla dairy sales crippled by Middle East boycott, Dairy Reporter, January 31, 2006
Selected News Headlines
Prophetic insults; Denmark and Islam, The Economist, January 7, 2006
Free speech clashes with religious sensitivity: For much of last year, various squabbles have simmered over
several prominent Danes' rude comments about Islam. Now a schoolboy prank by a newspaper has landed the
prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in the biggest diplomatic dispute of his tenure in office.
Denmark Is Unlikely Front in Islam-West Culture War, The New York Times, January 8, 2006
Editorial cartoons published in a Danish newspaper have made Denmark a flashpoint in the culture wars
between Islam and the West in a post-9/11 world.
After Danish Mohammed cartoon scandal, Norway follows suit, Agence France Presse, January 10, 2006
A Norwegian Christian magazine on Tuesday published a set of controversial caricatures of the prophet
Mohammed following months of uproar in the Muslim world over a Danish paper's decision to print the same
Drive to Boycott Danish, Norwegian Goods Takes Off, Gulf News, January 23, 2006
Riyadh: A vigorous campaign has been kicked off in Saudi Arabia calling for boycott of Danish and Norwegian
products in response to repeated publishing of offensive cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad by some
newspapers and magazines in those countries.
Threats by Militants Alarm Scandinavians; Denmark and Norway feel the backlash from cartoons, Los
Angeles Times, January 31, 2006
Denmark warned its citizens Monday to avoid Saudi Arabia, and gunmen in the Gaza Strip said any
Scandinavians there risked attack over newspaper cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.
Caricature of Muhammad Leads to Boycott of Danish Goods, The New York Times, January 31, 2006
A controversy over the publication of caricatures of the Muslim prophet by a Danish newspaper boiled over into
Cartoons of Prophet Met With Outrage; Depictions of Muhammad in Scandinavian Papers Provoke
Anger, Protest Across Muslim World, The Washington Post, January 31, 2006
Cartoons in Danish and Norwegian newspapers… have triggered outrage among Muslims across the Middle
East, sparking protests, economic boycotts and warnings of possible retaliation against the people, companies
and countries involved.
Danish Paper's Apology Fails To Calm Protests; Cartoons Trigger Muslim Outrage, The Boston Globe,
February 1, 2006
An apology by Denmark's largest newspaper… failed yesterday to calm a controversy that has ignited fiery
protests across the Islamic world and provoked death threats against Scandinavians by Muslim radical groups.
Muslim political and religious leaders and jihadists added their voices to the fury already thundering from
mosques and blaring from television and radio stations from Morocco to Pakistan.
Bomb threat to repentant Danish paper, The Guardian, February 1, 2006
The offices of Denmark's bestselling broadsheet newspaper were evacuated last night following a bomb threat a day after the editor-in-chief apologized for publishing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that offended
Anger as papers reprint cartoons of Muhammad: French, German and Spanish titles risk wrath: France
Soir executive 'sacked' for defiant gesture, The Guardian, February 2, 2006
Newspapers in France, Germany, Spain and Italy yesterday reprinted caricatures of the prophet Muhammad,
escalating a row over freedom of expression which has caused protest across the Middle East. France Soir and
Germany's Die Welt published cartoons which first appeared in a Danish newspaper, although the French paper
later apologized and apparently sacked its managing editor.
Islamic Anger Widens At Mohammed Cartoons, The Boston Globe, February 3, 2006
An extraordinary row over newspaper cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed intensified yesterday, with
street demonstrations from North Africa to Pakistan, threats of violence against Europeans in the Middle East,
and diplomatic protests by Muslim nations.
BBC shows the Islam cartoons, Daily Mail, February 3, 2006
The BBC and Channel 4 risked a Muslim backlash yesterday by showing ' blasphemous' cartoons of the prophet
Mohammed that have caused outrage in the Islamic world.
Cartoons spark Islamic rage *Europe's leaders step in as controversy escalates*More newspapers publish
offending images *Mideast consumer boycott hits Danish products, Financial Times, February 3, 2006
European leaders tried to contain the controversy over newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, as the
international dispute escalated into a consumer boycott and risked the gravest cultural clash with the Muslim
world since the Salman Rushdie affair.
Gaza gunmen on hunt for Europeans: Aid workers, journalists, diplomats flee in fear for their lives;
protests spread to Pakistan, Iraq, Ottawa Citizen, February 3, 2006
Militants threatened yesterday to kidnap or murder western citizens, in retaliation for the publication of
caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Broadcasters show prophet cartoons despite Muslim rage, The Herald, February 3, 2006
British broadcasters last night defied Muslim anger when they showed cartoons which have caused a storm of
protest in the Islamic world.
Danes call envoys home over prophet cartoons, The Irish Times, February 3, 2006
Denmark has summoned its ambassadors back from abroad to Copenhagen for talks today about the
controversial newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have triggered protests in the Arab world and
threats by militant Muslims.
Embassies burn in cartoon protest, BBC News, February 4, 2006
Syrians have set fire to the Norwegian and Danish embassies in Damascus in protest at the publication of
newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Protesters scaled the Danish site amid chants of "God is great",
before moving on to attack the Norwegian mission.
Danish embassy in Beirut torched, BBC News, February 5, 2006
Lebanese demonstrators have set the Danish embassy in Beirut on fire in protest at the publication of cartoons
depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
Protests Over Cartoons of Muhammad Turn Deadly, The New York Times, February 6, 2006
Demonstrations against the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad by newspapers in Europe spread
across Asia and the Middle East today, turning violent in Afghanistan, where at least four protesters were killed
and over a dozen police officers and protesters injured.
Nigerian religious riots continue, BBC News, February 24, 2006
Violence is continuing across Nigeria where religious riots have claimed more than 100 lives this week. Some
10,000 people are still sheltering in barracks in the south-east town of Onitsha after violence there killed 80.
Timeline of Key Events
November 2, 2004
September 30, 2005
January 20, 2006
January 24, 2006
January 26, 2006
January 28, 2006
January 31, 2006
February 1, 2006
February 3, 2006
February 4, 2006
February 6, 2006
Film director Theo van Gogh is murdered in Amsterdam
Jyllands-Posten publishes 12 cartoons portraying the Muhammad
The Saudi grand mufti calls for a boycott of Danish products
In Saudi Arabia and Kuwait Arla’s products begin to be removed from
50 grocery store shelves.
Arla products were removed from 300 stores.
Arla products were removed from 500 stores.
Arla products were removed from 50,000 stores, representing 95
percent of the market.
Cartoons reprinted in several newspapers across Europe
Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus is set on fire
Danish embassy in Beirut is set on fire
Iran officially bans Danish products
Arla Mission Statement
Our Mission is:
"To offer modern consumers milk-based food products that create inspiration,
confidence and well-being"
Arla Foods’ primary objective is to meet consumers’ wishes and requirements. Its
mission underlines the company’s focus on the consumer.
“Modern consumers” covers consumers of all ages who look for inspiration, variety
"Milk-based products” means that the products must contain milk or milk components.
Arla Foods is committed to providing consumers with inspiration by offering a
multitude of ways of utilizing its products.
Arla Foods creates confidence and well-being by providing tasty and healthy products
that not only meet statutory quality requirements, but also satisfy consumers’ demands
for “soft” values. Consumers can be assured that Arla Foods consistently demonstrates
its concern for the proper exploitation of resources, the environment, animal welfare,
ethics etc. throughout the entire production process.
Our Vision is:
"To be the leading Dairy Company in Europe through considerable value creation and
active market leadership"
Through its vision, Arla Foods wishes to demonstrate that its activities are designed to
create value for both the company and its owners.
By using the term “value creation” instead of “results”, we wish to emphasize that our
objectives are based on the long-term rather than short-term financial gains.
To become the world leader in value-creation within the dairy sector, Arla Foods must
* Northern Europe’s preferred dairy group among consumers, customers and milk
* Northern Europe’s market leader within all types of dairy products with a broad
range, strong brands and a high degree of consumer confidence
* Represented in Southern Europe with a selected range of cheese and butter
* Represented in a number of markets outside Europe through a range adapted to
Brandeis betrays its educational mission - Jonathan Zimmerman - Newsday
Opinion: Brandeis betrays its educational
Updated April 16, 2014 8:14 PM By JONATHAN ZIMMERMAN
In this Monday, Feb. 5, 2007 photo, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, writer of the film "Submission," which
criticized the treatment of women in traditional Islam and led to the murder of Dutch film
director Theo Van Gogh, talks to a reporter in New York. Brandeis University in
Massachusetts is taking heat from some of its own about plans to give an honorary degree to
Ali, who has made comments critical of Islam. Photo Credit: AP
In 1949, Wayne State University president David Henry blocked Herbert Phillips, a wellknown philosophy professor, from speaking on campus. The reason: Phillips was a
Communist. "I cannot believe that the university is under any obligation in the name of
education, to give him an audience," Henry said.
Brandeis betrays its educational mission - Jonathan Zimmerman - Newsday
I thought of the episode when I learned about Brandeis University's recent decision to
withdraw its offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali following criticism from
students, faculty and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Citing Ali's
controversial remarks about Islam, Brandeis said the comments were "inconsistent" with
its "core values."
But a core value of a university is -- or should be -- open dialogue and discussion. And
Brandeis -- not Ali -- violated it, just as universities did by keeping out left-leaning
speakers during the McCarthy era.
A native of Somalia who fled a forced marriage, Ali eventually moved to Holland and was
subsequently elected to parliament. She also wrote the screenplay for a 2004 film about
the treatment of Muslim women, which earned her death threats that prompted her to
move to the United States.
And in a 2007 interview, Ali called Islam "a destructive, nihilistic cult of death." Later
that year, she said "there is no moderate Islam" and that it must be "defeated."
OpinionNational cartoon roundup
Over the top? Definitely. Offensive? I think so. But Ali's comments hardly put her in the
same category as Nazis or white supremacists, as several critics have recently charged.
Brandeis betrays its educational mission - Jonathan Zimmerman - Newsday
Unlike fascist ideologues, who stressed the second-class status of women and their duty
to reproduce for the fatherland, Ali has fought for independence and equality for women.
She also has been at the center of an ongoing debate about whether Muslims have
enhanced or curbed women's rights. These are legitimate issues, and academia should
Instead, we're more likely to quash them. Part of the problem is the liberal political
orientation of university professors. That makes it hard to include perspectives from
people like Ali, who don't fit neatly into the categories we've created for ourselves. She's
a feminist, obviously, but she has also made anti-Islamic remarks. Is she one of us, or
not? Even worse, we tend to demonize people who disagree with us. The very worst
aspect of American political culture is the assumption that your opponents are either
stupid or evil. The university used to be a bulwark against that kind of thinking. But
lately, I fear, we've fallen into it ourselves.
Nobody ever admits that out loud; instead, liberals simply say certain views are too
offensive to merit a hearing. But that's precisely what red-baiters said about Communists
and their sympathizers during the Cold War. And it's also what conservative Catholics
said in 2009, when Notre Dame tapped President Barack Obama as its graduation
More than 300,000 people signed a petition urging the university to revoke its invitation
to Obama, a long-standing supporter of abortion rights. In hosting the president, the
petition said, the institution was "betraying its Catholic mission."
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Brandeis betrays its educational mission - Jonathan Zimmerman - Newsday
But turning away Obama would have betrayed the university's academic mission: to
promote dialogue and understanding across our myriad differences. Fortunately, Notre
Dame held firm, and Obama gave his address. Some dissenting graduates protested his
abortion views by affixing pictures of baby feet to their mortar boards.
Ali won't have the opportunity to address Brandeis graduates next month. More to the
point, students won't have the chance to challenge and engage her. That's a core value of
the university, and also of a liberal society. Too bad Brandeis -- and its avowedly liberal
defenders -- seem to have forgotten it.
Jonathan Zimmerman teaches history and education at New York University. His most recent
book is "Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory."
Brandeis betrays its educational mission - Jonathan Zimmerman - Newsday
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