Muslim anger unabated over prophet cartoons
Updated: 2006-02-03 09:12
The furore in the Muslim
world over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in Western media
raged on as a battle line was drawn between freedom of the press and respect for
Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen tried to bridge the differences
in an interview broadcast Thursday on Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television. The
cartoons first appeared in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten last September and
touched off protests and a boycott of Danish products in most Arab nations.
A Syrian Muslim man
holds up a poster featuring logos of Danish products during a protest in
front of the embassy of Denmark in Damascus. Islamic militants threatened
to kill European nationals as the crisis over cartoons of Mohammed
intensified, while in Europe more media rallied in support of freedom of
expression and refused to give way to Muslim anger. [AFP]
"I would like to make it clear that I am deeply distressed that many Muslims
have seen the drawings in the Danish newspaper as a defamation of the Prophet
Mohammed," Rasmussen said in the interview that was taped on Wednesday.
"I know that this was not the intention of the newspaper, (which) has
apologized for that and I do hope that we can find a solution on that basis."
Newspapers and magazines in several European countries including Norway and
France also have published, in the name of freedom of expression, the sketches
that show the Prophet Mohammed wearing a bomb-shaped turban and as a
sword-wielding nomad flanked by two women shrouded in black.
To Muslims the cartoons are blasphemous as Islam prohibits any images of the
The firestorm of reaction spread throughout the Middle East. In the
Palestinian territories two masked gunmen briefly seized a German national from
a hotel in the West Bank town of Nablus "thinking he was French or Danish, and
handed him over to police after realising their mistake," said a source from the
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
"The two men were acting to protest over the cartoons," he said.
Earlier, two armed groups threatened to target Danes, French and Norwegians
in the Palestinian territories.
Palestinian gunmen besieged the European Union headquarters in the Gaza Strip
and scrawled "Closed Until Apology is Made to the Muslims" on the gate to the
building, which had not opened for business for fear of violence.