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Sun 17 Feb 2008 01:19 PM

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Muslims urged to protest 'peacefully' against Danish cartoons

Images 'blatant act of incitement' says Islamic leader.

Muslims infuriated by the re-printing of caricatures of Prophet Mohammad by Danish newspapers must protest legally and peacefully, an Islamic leader urged on Saturday.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said the re-printing of the cartoons was ‘a blatant act of incitement to hatred’ and offensive to the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims.

However, he urged Muslims living in Denmark to use legal and democratic means to protest their outrage, Saudi daily Arab News reported on Sunday.

At least 17 Danish newspapers reprinted a controversial cartoon of Prophet Mohammed on Wednesday, vowing to defend freedom of expression a day after police foiled a murder plot against the cartoonist.

Three of the country's biggest dailies were among those that published the cartoon, which depicts the founder of Islam with a bomb in his turban.

Three men were arrested on Tuesday in Denmark for planning to murder Kurt Westergaard, 73, a cartoonist at Jyllands-Posten, the paper that originally ran the drawings in September 2005.

A number of Danish embassies were attacked and more than 50 people were killed in rioting across the Middle East, Africa and Asia following publication of the cartoons, first in the Danish press and subsequently by numerous media outlets around the world.

Ihsanoglu said the OIC would not hesitate to condemn the plotters if their crime is established by Danish authorities, and it was unacceptable that Islam and Muslims were represented as enemies of free speech.

The OIC secretary-general said that it was regrettable that the issue had re-emerged at a time when the international community was promoting mutual respect, in order to ‘heal the wounds of the previous unfortunate events’.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

tanweermahmoodallah 12 years ago

Can I publish cartoons about the Pope(who in no way compares in sacredness to our prophet) in the western media, editor? Can I publish cartoons about the Rabbis and their dirty practices. Can I publish cartoons about the sexual adventures of western politicians? Will I not be labeled as a terrorist and shipped to Guantanamo? Kindly answer my question.

Paul 12 years ago

Of course you can. I suppose you don't remember when the new pope was elected, the Western media pointed out that he used to be in the Hitler Youth. You could also quite easily publish cartoons about rabbis and politicians. Indeed there is a whole industry in Europe devoted to such things. There are TV programmes every night in the UK that criticise politicians. Someone has also written a book imagining the sexual relationship between Prince Charles and Princess Di. That's the difference between the West and the Arab world. The West has no sacred cows. We have things we don't like people to say, but we'll defend your right to say them. The West certainly has never tried to kill anyone because they published anti-Semitic cartoons, which feature in the Arab media on a daily basis. I don't agree with the publishing of the 'cartoons' of the Prophet (PBUH) because it's offensive and insensitive. But I believe the paper has a right to publish them, and that Muslims across the world have the right to object through non-violent means.

nadia khan 12 years ago

It is shameful that Denmark again published the cartoons of our beloved Prophet (PBUH)...I think this act shows the deep hatred towards Muslims... The west calls muslim's extrimists but what are they themselves doing? Should we call them open minded while they are not ready to give respect to the prophet of Muslims! Muslims are more righteous as they respect all religions!

ridley 12 years ago

Freedom of speech allows people to say what they want, without fear of prosecution or retribution. Frankly, it does allow insults to bandied about - that is the whole point. It is the underpinning of every healthy democracy and is why liberal societies are fundamentally incompatible with many strict muslim cultures. As Voltaire said; "I may detest what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."