Flemming Rose

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Flemming Rose (born March 11, 1958) is a Danish journalist, author and[1] cultural editor at the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. He was principally responsible for the publishing of the cartoons that initiated the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy.


Rose has a major in Russian language and literature from University of Copenhagen. From 1990 to 1996 he was the Moscow correspondent for the newspaper Berlingske Tidende. Between 1996 and 1999 he was the correspondent for the same newspaper in Washington, D.C. In 1999 he became Moscow correspondent for the newspaper Jyllands-Posten and in April 2004 the cultural editor of that paper (KulturWeekend), replacing Sven Bedsted.

Cartoon controversy[edit]

Rose is best known for commissioning a series of drawings of Muhammad in the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy that were published on 30 September 2005. His reasoning was that the European public had witnessed severe examples of self-censorship because of possible violent threats from groups from within the Muslim minority. It began with Danish children's book author Kåre Bluitgen, who seemingly couldn't find illustrators for a book about the life of the Prophet Muhammad. The Jyllands-Posten asked illustrators to depict Muhammad "as you see him". Among the cartoons two that caricatured Bluitgen, one that mocked the Jyllands-Posten itself, caricatures of Danish politicians, and one depicting Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.

In the text that supported the publishing of the 12 cartoons, Rose wrote: "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."

He later argued that the publishing of the cartoons could mean an "inclusion" instead of an "exclusion" of ethnic minorities like Muslims, arguing that Muslims at last were a part of the European societies as much as the rest of the population when there were made cartoons of their religious authorities as well.

When accused, "But you depicted Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, armed with a knife and with a broken halo that resembled satanic horns", Rose replied, "The cartoon with horns didn't arouse special criticism; it was the other two. The one with the bomb in his turban doesn't say, 'All Muslims are terrorists,' but says, 'Some people have taken Islam hostage to permit terrorist and extremist acts.' These cartoons do not treat Muslims in any other way than we treat other citizens in this country. By treating them as equals, we are saying, 'You are equal'".

When asked whether he had any regrets about commissioning the cartoons, Rose replied, "That is a hypothetical question. I would say that I do not regret having commissioned those cartoons and I think asking me that question is like asking a rape victim if she regrets wearing a short skirt Friday night at the discothèque." (Jyllands-Posten 11 Dec. 2005; Politiken 16 Dec. 2005)

Book five years later[edit]

Five years to the day after the cartoons were first published in Jyllands-Posten, they were republished in Denmark in Rose's book Tyranny of Silence. The Norwegian publisher which bought the rights to the controversial book has described it as "a 500-page collection of essays about free speech and its boundaries."[1]

Holocaust cartoons[edit]

On 8 February 2006, Flemming Rose said in interviews with CNN and TV 2 that Jyllands-Posten planned to reprint satirical cartoons depicting the Holocaust that the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri planned to publish. He told CNN "My newspaper is trying to establish a contact with that Iranian newspaper Hamshahri, and we would run the cartoons the same day as they publish them". Later that day the paper's editor-in-chief said that Jyllands-Posten under no circumstances would publish the Holocaust cartoons [1] and Flemming Rose later said that "he had made a mistake".[2] [3] The next day Carsten Juste, the editor-in-chief of Jyllands-Posten, stated that Flemming Rose was on indefinite leave because he needed time off.[4] After some months Rose returned to Jyllands-Posten.


Alexander Litvinenko wrote that Flemming Rose repeated allegations made by FSB. According to Litvinenko, Rose slandered separatist Chechen minister Usman Ferzauli alleging that Ferzauli set up concentration camps for captured Russian soldiers.[2]


  • Mod strømmen (Against the Stream), in Russian by Boris Yeltsin (translated by Flemming Rose to Danish), Schønberg 1990.
  • Katastrofen der udeblev (The Disaster that did not Happen), Gyldendal, 1998.
  • Velfærdsstaten tur/retur - efter socialdemokratismens sammenbrud (The Rise and Fall of the Welfare-state - after the Collapse of Social-Democracy), Gyldendal, 2005 (Editor)
  • Amerikanske stemmer, Jyllands-Postens Forlag, 2006.
  • Tavshedens Tyranni (Tyranny of Silence), 2010


  1. ^ a b "Gir ut bok med Muhammed-karikaturer (Publishing book with Muhammed caricatures)". Culture and media section (Unsigned article from NTB) (in Norwegian) (Bergens Tidende). 2 October 2010. p. 5. "Cappelen Damm har kjøpt rettighetene til den omstridte boken Tavshedens Tyranni av den danske journalisten Flemming Rose. I boken blir omstridte tegninger of profeten Muhammed publisert. Rose er tidligere redaktør i Jyllands-Posten. Torsdag, på dagen fem år etter at avisen trykket de omstridte karikaturtegningene av profeten Muhammed første gang, ble boken hans gitt ut i hjemlandet. Cappelen Damm omtaler boken som en 500-siders essaysamling om ytringsfriheten og dens grenser." 
  2. ^ (Russian)За карикатурами в датской газете стоит Лубянка, Alexander Litvinenko, for Chechenpress, February 7, 2006

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