Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Muhammed cartoons update

Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reprinted the Muhammad cartoons to illustrate a story about the attack on Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.

Both Iran and Pakistan condemned the publication.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast: "Such acts are against the sanctity of religious values and are strongly condemned." "One cannot harm the religious sentiments of over one billion Muslims under the banner of freedom of speech," he said. "Such blasphemous acts will not contribute to the establishment of world peace. They will only make the Norwegian government liable before the international community for failing to prevent provocative behaviors that are in violation of human rights."

The Pakistani Foreign Office also strongly condemned the reprinting of the cartoons, and urged Norway to take appropriate measures and ensure that the people who committed this blasphemous act were appropriately reprimanded.

Aftenposten's chief editor, Hilde Haugsgjerd, says they did not get any direct responses from Muslim groups. They have got some reactions from individuals but nothing serious.

Pakistani organization Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which is on the UN's terror list, called on Muslims to protest. A small group of Islamists protested in Lahore last Friday, carrying a sign saying that "anyone who kills Kurt Westergaard will be hero of Islam" and calling to boycott all Norwegian products.

Professor Tore Bjørgo of the Police University College in Oslo doesn't expect any violent responses. Aftenposten is just one of many newspapers who have reprinted the cartoons. Laila Bokhari of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs says that it all depends on how the news spreads and who will pick up on it and use it.

Norwegian Parliamentarian Ulf Erik Knudsen (Progress Party) posted the cartoon on his Facebook page, leading to further rage in Pakistan, but later removed the image.

At least 6 other newspapers in Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Portugal and Suriname published the cartoons following the attacks. Norwegian site Nettavisen published the cartoon for a short time before removing it.

In Belgium, the ex-Muslim group "People Against Islam" announced a Muhammed cartoon contest on their site, saying they were inspired by Aftenposten.

Meanwhile, more details are coming out about the US plot against Jyllands-Posten. The American-Canadian terrorists planned to blow up a truck outside the Jyllands-Posten offices. A Pakistani terror group put the two in touch with associates in European countries, who could supply them with money, weapons and manpower for the attack.

Following the attack on Westergaard Danish authorities decided to provide him with additional security. The 30 agents needed for round-the-clock cover are expected to cost about 19.5 million kroner a year.

Sources: PressTV, DAWN, Washington Times, Copenhagen Post 1, 2 (English), NRK, Nettavisen, VG, Aftenposten (Norwegian), Fyens Stiftstidende (Danish), Standaard (Dutch)

With thanks to Islam in Europe

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