Muslims urge calm over cartoons

Muslim leaders in Denmark said they will not take action against members of an anti-immigration party who drew cartoons mocking Islam's prophet Muhammad, while condemning their actions.

    Cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad led to protests

    Danish state TV on Friday aired amateur video footage showing members of the youth wing of the Danish People's party (DPP) engaging in a competition to draw images of Muhammad at a summer camp.

     

    Ahmed Abu-Laban, a Copenhagen imam, said: "Against the background of the problems earlier, we have to be careful."

     

    In September 2005 Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published cartoons which included one showing Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.

     

    Many Muslim clerics denounced those cartoons as blasphemous, sparking protests early this year in which more than 50 people died in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

     

    Different approach

     

    Abu-Laban, who helped orchestrated Muslims' outrage against the Jyllands-Posten's cartoons, called for a different response to the latest developments.

     

    He said: "This time it's a different situation. Of course it's deplorable, but we all know the attitude the DPP have toward Muslims and Islam and these pictures were never intended for publication."

     

    Abu-Laban said he regretted Danish TV's decision to air the footage, saying it raised ethical questions.

     

    "We've been working very hard to resolve the problems since the conflict earlier this year."

     

    "I think the events are too stupid and too absurd to provoke demonstrations or other actions from Muslims"

    Yildiz Akdogan, spokeswoman, Democratic Muslims

    The youth wings of other parties, including the ruling Liberal party, criticised the DPP and said they would not attend any political events where members of the DPP were present.

     

    'Absurd'

     

    Yildiz Akdogan, a spokeswoman for Democratic Muslims, a pro-integration group formed in the aftermath of the protests against the cartoons in February, said she was glad other parties had condemned the actions.

     

    She said: "I think the events are too stupid and too absurd to provoke demonstrations or other actions from Muslims.

     

    "Of course it's not a good thing and definitely does not make building bridges any easier, but I hope it won't have any lasting effect."

     

    The Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group based in Egypt, took a more robust line.

     

    "The Muslim Brotherhood denounces this repetition of acts [hostile to Islam] in the West and calls on Muslims to defend their religion in this sacred month [of Ramdan]" the group said in a statement.

     

    It called for a boycott of products from countries that "permit these sort of acts," for peaceful protests and for international legislation banning such "attacks".

     

    Kenneth Kristensen, a senior member of the DPP's youth movement, criticised the events, but stopped short of apologising.

     

    The DPP campaigns on a platform that combines emphasis on increased spending on schools and care for the elderly with a strong anti-immigrant stance.

     

    It is a political ally of the centre-right coalition led by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark's prime minister.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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