Boycott Watch
February 10, 2006
Islamic Boycott of Denmark - Who will really be hurt?

    We all have heard and read about the recent Islamic riots after a Danish newspaper printed a cartoon depicting Mohamed, and how Muslims claim drawing such images is blasphemy. The question is, however, is the insult claim correct and does the resulting boycott of all Danish products by Muslims have merit?

    First, we have to ask if such imagery has ever evoked similar responses in the past. While performing a Google search, we found an archive of images of Mohamed spanning several years, many of which came from Islamic sources, yet we were not able to find any similar riotous reactions after such drawings were made, whatsoever. One of the best such archives can be found at:

    The second question, and most important, is who is being affected by this boycott? Since the cartoon in question originally appeared in a Danish newspaper, one would think the newspaper would be the logical target of a boycott if a boycott were to have been called. That, however, is not the case. The entire nation of Denmark is being boycotted by Muslims, not just the independent newspaper.

    In the US, the Philadelphia Enquirer, LA Times, New York Times and other newspapers are being boycotted for a claimed anti-Israel bias. Boycott Watch spoke to an editor of the Philadelphia Enquirer in August of 2002 regarding a boycott call against that paper and we reported the newspapers response at Our report shows both the bias claims and examples of balance presented by the Philadelphia Enquirer. Is there anti-Israel bias in that newspaper? You decide.

    Irrespective of any actual bias or not, the boycotts against these newspapers are targeted directly at the newspapers. While there have been requests by the boycott advocates asking companies not to advertise in these newspapers, there have not been any secondary boycotts of advertisers in these newspapers. These efforts in the US are all examples of primary boycotts, as only actual the boycott targets has been boycotted.

    In the case of the Danish newspapers, not only have secondary boycotts been called for, but the boycott enacted is even beyond a tertiary boycott. A secondary boycott would be, for example, a boycott of advertisers. An example of a tertiary boycott would be boycotts against anyone doing business with the advertisers. The Danish boycott has gone even further than that - this boycott is against the entire country, regardless if anyone in that country actually reads the particular newspaper or not.

    So, the question remains - who is hurt by this new boycott? While the intent of the boycott is to hurt Danish businesses, including those that have nothing to do with the newspaper, merchants in Arab countries with Danish products on their shelves will loose money when Muslims refuse to buy the products already owned by their Muslim brethren. World-Wide, people predominantly look down upon rioters, especially when they do not understand the reason for the riots. As a result, most people are sympathizing with the Danish. Consumers in the US and other western countries will now specifically want to purchase Danish products, thus creating marketplace demand. The newspaper has also gained notoriety and therefore will have greater readership.

    This boycott will take hold in the Islamic world because it is a religious boycott and such boycotts are not easily forgotten by religious consumers. In the non-Islamic world, however, the riots have only served to build sympathy for the Danish, resulting in a greater demand in the west, thus an overall expanded market and demand for Danish products. Final score: Denmark 1, Muslims 0.

Samples of newspaper boycotts for anti-Israel stances:

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