fralilletillaban_xtract.gifOpportunistic Denmark-based imam Ahmed Abu Laban’s passing earlier today, almost exactly a year after the flames he helped fan triggered the insanity that became the so-called Muhammed crisis, seems strangely serendipitous. It reminds us what a difference being at the wrong place at the wrong time can make. Though his track record of consorting with unsavoury Islamic extremists such as Sheikh Omar abd El-Rahman, associated with the first WTC bombing in 1993, does not exactly gather him any sympathy around these parts, he of course cannot be held responsible for the sad manifestation of humanity, on the part of pretty much everyone involved, that was the Muhammed crisis (and the Danish courts decided as much a few weeks ago).

This however does not completely absolve him and his colleagues. The propagandistic PR-offensive around North Africa and the Middle East he helped organize and its effect in Egypt especially, where an equally opportunistic Minister of Foreign affairs seized the moment and broadcast the case widely, was a direct reason for the escalation of a case that was absurd enough as was. Abu Laban has been credited with important, constructive work in the Muslim community in Denmark, but one cannot help but think how things could have been different had he and his colleagues not done what they did, and that tarnishes his memory. Of course, similar things can be said for the editors at Jyllands-Posten and their inane provocation, the Danish prime minister’s arrogant dismissal of the problem at the crucial stage when he could arguably have played a major role in squashing the beef, and – as mentioned – almost everyone else directly involved in last year’s stupid tragedy.

May both Abu Laban, and the intransigent and opportunist mentality he came to espouse, rest in peace.

Read Rackham‘s coverage of the Muhammed crisis in English here, and in Danish here. Illustration by T. Thorhauge from his comic on Abu Laban, published in Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet April 2 2006.