This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1606
January 31, 2006
Bombhammed" Has Gaza Islamists Primed For Jihad
January 30, 2006 - Gaza City - PipeLineNews.org - A series of 12 cartoons published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten has driven members of Fatah and the al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade to distraction in Gaza City and other hotbeds of Islamic liberalism.
Toting automatic weapons, rocket launchers and sundry explosive devices, members of the religion of peace briefly took over an office of the EU in protest and demanded an apology from Denmark and Norway over the allegedly defamatory depictions of Mohammed and Muslims.
"We are calling on the citizens of the two countries to take this threat seriously because our cells are ready to implement this all over Gaza," said one of the terrorists.
Throughout the Middle East, disturbed Islamists have conducted a boycott of Danish products since the publication of the cartoons and have warned citizens of the countries that they are no longer welcome in the so-called Palestinian territories. This might prove a hardship for the intrepid Danes, long accustomed to vacationing in such oases as Gaza City and Ramallah.
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|Palestinians burn a Danish flag bearing a footprint during a protest outside the European Union representation in Gaza City|
Jan. 31, 2006, 10:08AM
By JAN M. OLSEN Associated Press Writer
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Muslim group spearheading criticism of a Danish newspaper for printing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad said Tuesday it accepted the paper's apology, but Iraqi Muslims called for a commercial and diplomatic boycott of Denmark and Norway.
The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published an apology late Monday for the drawings.
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said his government could not apologize on behalf of a newspaper, but said he personally "never would have depicted Muhammad, Jesus or any other religious character in a way that could offend other people."
A spokesman for Denmark's Islamic Faith Community, Kasem Ahmad, said on Danish radio Tuesday that "we will clearly and articulately thank the prime minister and Jyllands-Posten for what they have done."
Fogh Rasmussen said he was pleased the newspaper's apology had been accepted.
It was not immediately clear, however, whether the apology and the statements of the prime minister and Ahmad would defuse the anger that arose in Muslim countries over the drawings, which were published in the Danish paper in September and reprinted Jan. 10 by the Norwegian evangelical newspaper Magazinet in the name of defending free expression.
Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari on Tuesday handed a letter to the Danish ambassador to Iraq strongly denouncing the publication, saying they were an "insult to the feelings of 1.5 billion Muslims," according to al-Iraqiya TV, which aired footage of the meeting.
The Association of Muslim Scholars, a leading Sunni Muslim group believed to have some ties to insurgents outfits, was the latest Iraqi group demanding action be taken against Denmark and Norway.
"The association joins calls for a commercial and diplomatic boycott of Denmark and Norway unless these two countries present an official apology and recognition of the insult," the group said in a statement.
In the Gaza Strip, about 5,000 members of the militant Islamic Jihad group, including several gunmen, marched in Gaza City demanding that Denmark apologize for the drawings.
On Monday, masked Palestinian gunmen briefly took over a European Union office in Gaza and warned Danish citizens they would not be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip.
Fogh Rasmussen called on all sides to refrain from further aggravating the dispute. Mindful of the outrage, the government advised its citizens to "show extra vigilance" in the Middle East.
"We must do our utmost to get back to the dialogue and build on the friendship that has always characterized the relations between Denmark and the Muslim world," he said.
"I would like to emphasize that the Danish government condemns any expression, action or indication that attempts to demonize groups on the basis of their religion or ethnic background."
Denmark-based dairy group Arla Foods, which was especially hard-hit by boycotts in the Middle East, welcomed the latest developments.
"We are eagerly waiting to see the effect of the prime minister's television appearance and the daily's apology," spokeswoman Astrid Gade Nielsen said.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------EU: BRUSSELS WARNS SAUDI ARABIA OVER DENMARK CARTOON SPAT
Brussels, 31 Jan. (AKI) - European Union trade commissioner Peter Mandelson has warned Saudi Arabia that official backing for a boycott of Danish products in the so-called 'cartoon affair' would violate trade agreements between the kingdom and the 25-nation bloc. Mandelson has informed the Saudi Arabian minister for state, Abdullah Zainal Alireza, that the kingdom's recent memebership of the World Trade Organisation means that "a boycott of Danish goods was a boycott of the European Union." His remarks come amid outrage in the Middle East over a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.
A major Saudi chain store company has stopped selling Danish products, and while the Saudi government has condemned the cartoons and has recalled its ambassador from Copenhagen, it has has stopped short of encouraging the boycott.
The row first started when the Jyllandsposten daily as part of an article on freedom of expression published the 12 cartoons, including one portraying Mohammed as a terrorist, in November. Muslims regard all portrayals of the Prophet as blasphemous.
The Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen whose photograph was burned by protestors in Gaza this week, has said his government will not interfere with the right of the newspaper's right to publish what it wants in terms of Denmark's freedom of expression laws.
Jyllandsposten has since apologised for the cartoons, acknowledging that they were offensive to Muslims, even in their publication did not violate Danish law.
Denmark tries to curb cartoon anger
From correspondents in Copenhagen
February 01, 2006
DANISH Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed alarm today at the wave of anger in the Muslim world prompted by caricatures in a Danish newspapper depicting the prophet Mahommed.
He said his government considered the growing dispute "extremely serious".
"Our diplomats are currently attempting to repair the misunderstandings that have surfaced," he said.
Meanwhile, Muslim leaders in Denmark called for a more conciliatory tone from the Muslim world, saying the row had gone too far.
"We have from the beginning said that these drawings are making Muslims angry and hurt. But we honestly never thought that this case would develop to the point where Danish products in the Middle East are being threatened to this extent," Ahmed Abu Laban, a prominent imam in Denmark's Muslim community, said in a statement.
was time to calm the tensions, Mulsim leaders said, amid reports of Danish flag-burnings, protest rallies, boycotts and threats against Scandinavians in Muslim countries.
"We have to work together now to establish a more reasonable tone in the debate and a good dialogue about Islam and Muslims," Muslim community spokesman Kasim Amat was quoted by Danish media as saying.
Muslim anger over the 12 cartoons, which depicted the Prophet Mohammed and were published in a Danish paper in September, has boiled over into a diplomatic crisis threatening Danish trade relations with the Muslim world.
Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador to Denmark, Libya has shut down its embassy in Copenhagen, and overnight, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari summoned Denmark's ambassador over the cartoons.
Interior ministers from 17 Arab countries today called on the Danish government to "punish the authors" of the cartoons.
Thousands of Palestinians also demonstrated outside the United Nations compound in Gaza City to denounce the caricatures, burning a large picture of the Danish prime minister, while dozens of others demonstrated outside the Danish embassy in Tel Aviv.
The caricatures, including a portrayal of the prophet wearing a time bomb-shaped turban, were published in Jyllands-Posten last September and reprinted in a Norwegian magazine in January. They are regarded by Muslims as blasphemous.
Jyllands-Posten's editor long refused to apologise for publishing the caricatures, insisting on the right to freedom of expression, but finally apologised yesterday for offending Muslims.
Prime Minister Rasmussen, who has refused to apologise on behalf of the Danish people, was quick to welcome the editor's contrition and called on Muslims in Denmark to "participate in calming and stopping the unreasonable protests against Denmark and Danish interests".
Danish-Swedish dairy giant Arla Foods has been hardest hit by the boycotts, and was yesterday forced to shut down production completely in Saudi Arabia.
"We are against economic boycotts and are sincerely sorry that it has come to this. It was not our intention that Denmark should be hit by such sanctions," Abu Laban said.
Denmark's leading media also called for the government to try to ease tensions.
"These last few days have been a catastrophe for Denmark's reputation, its exports and the security of Danes," the Politiken newspaper said in an editorial.
Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller met today with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and several of his Muslim counterparts at a conference in London, and was scheduled to meet with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan later in the day to discuss the controversy.
The offices of Jyllands-Posten faced a bomb threat today in both the northern town of Aarhus and in downtown Copenhagen and were evacuated on Tuesday evening, according to an AFP reporter at the scene in Copenhagen.
Police said the newspaper had received a telephone call saying there was a bomb and bomb-sniffing dogs were being sent in, Copenhagen police spokesman Flemming Munch said.
But Mr Munch said later he did not think a bomb would actually go off.
"The time when the bomb was supposed to go off has long passed. This appears to be the work of a madman," he said.
The Danish prime minister said that the newspaper Jyllands-Posten had not intended to insult Muslims when it published the drawings."
The Danish government has broad public backing for it stance on the cartoons. An opinion poll showed that 79 percent of Danes think Fogh Rasmussen should not issue an apology and 62 percent say the newspaper should not apologize.
Officials in Muslim countries and various religious bodies have expressed anger at the cartoons, while the editors of the newspapers have defended their publication on the grounds of freedom of expression.
While Rasmussen tried to assuage Muslim anger, Libya on Sunday closed its embassy in Denmark in protest at the drawings.
Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Denmark and Saudi religious leaders have urged a boycott of Danish products.
Kuwait's state-supported supermarkets have announced a similar boycott and the government summoned a regional Danish ambassador to complain.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul-Illah Khatib summoned on Sunday the Danish ambassador to protest against what he said was an "intentional insult of Islam, its message and its honorable Prophet," the official Petra news agency reported. It said Khatib insisted that measures must be taken to ensure no "recurrence of such violations."
Egypt's parliament demanded that Egypt recall its ambassadors to Denmark and Norway, where media reprinted the cartoons. The opposition Muslim Brotherhood demanded a boycott of products from the two countries.
Members of parliament in Bahrain are also calling for a boycott of Danish and Norwegian products.
Syria's Foreign Ministry called on the Danish government to take the "necessary measures to punish the offenders so that such offenses may not be repeated in the future."
In Lebanon, the militant group Hezbollah urged Denmark and Norway to apologize and "take serious steps to prevent a recurrence of these repulsive phenomena whose cultural, social and political consequences will be felt in more than one direction."
In two West Bank towns, Palestinians burned Danish flags to protest the caricatures, and demanded an apology.
The Muslim world's two main political bodies, the Arab League, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said they are seeking a UN resolution, backed by possible sanctions, to protect religions.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of Organisation of the Islamic Conference, said in Cairo on Sunday that the international body would "ask the UN general assembly to pass a resolution banning attacks on religious beliefs".
The deputy secretary-general of the Arab League, Ahmed Ben Helli, confirmed that contacts were under way for such a proposal to be made to the UN.
Last December, the Council of Europe, an organisation of 46 European countries, has criticized the Danish government for invoking the "freedom of the press" in its refusal to take action against "insulting" cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Council Committee of Ministers discussed the case during a meeting in Strassburg. In a statement, the Committee said that "a seam of intolerance" is noted in certain Danish media – a reference to the Danish cartoon case.
Twelve cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, published in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten daily last September and reprinted in a Norwegian magazine earlier this month, sparked uproar in the Muslim world where images of the prophet are considered blasphemous.
The cartoons include portrayal of the prophet wearing a time-bomb-shaped turban and show him as a wild-eyed, knife-wielding bedouin flanked by two women shrouded in black.
Islam bars any depiction of the prophet, even respectful ones. It considers images of prophets disrespectful and caricatures of them blasphemous.
This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1606