This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at

Muslims in London declare Jihad over Mohammed cartoons :"There are no apologies...those responsible would have to be killed"

February 3, 2006

Muslims march, burn flags over caricatures

Last Updated Fri, 03 Feb 2006 14:56:03 EST CBC News

Violent protests over the publication of editorial cartoons showing the Prophet Muhammad are gaining momentum, with activists threatening to launch "a day of anger" across Europe and the Muslim world.

The caricatures were originally printed in a Danish newspaper last fall, causing minor protests, but their republication by a Norwegian paper in December fired up the anger of Muslims again.

Protest on the streets of London Friday, Feb. 3, 2006.

Muslims believe any depiction of Muhammad is blasphemous because it could lead to idolatry.

About 500 protesters who gathered in London on Friday carried signs with slogans such as: "Freedom of speech, go to hell" and "Kill, kill Denmark!"

As they walked through the British capital, they shouted: "What do we want? Jihad! [holy war!] When do we want it? Now!"

"The only way this will be resolved is if those who are responsible are turned over so they can be punished by Islamic law, so that they can be executed," Abu Ibraheem, a 26-year-old protester in the British march, told the Associated Press. "There are no apologies ... Those responsible would have to be killed."

Other European media agencies show cartoons

The controversy is being fed by the decision of other European news organizations to reprint or broadcast the cartoons this week as a way of defending freedom of the press.

Newspapers in France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary and Italy have joined the group of those publishing the caricatures, one of which shows the Prophet wearing a turban with a lit fuse to suggest a bomb.

Carlos Enrique Bayo, editor of the Barcelona-based El Periodico, told CBC News that his newspaper wanted to inform readers about the controversy, "so we showed how the page was printed in Denmark."

The decision prompted a flood of letters from newspaper subscribers.

"A lot of readers are proud of our decision, and half of them are opposed to us printing those cartoons," Bayo said.

Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first printed the cartoons, has apologized for any hurt it might have caused, but not for publishing the cartoons.

Syria and Saudi Arabia have recalled their ambassadors to Denmark over the controversy, and there have been boycotts of Danish products throughout the Middle East and countries around around the world with large Muslim populations.

During the London protest Friday, two Danish flags were burned.

In Iraq, hundreds of protesters also took to the streets and burned the Danish flag, and similar protests were held in Pakistan and Indonesia.

Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, said he too took offence at the images, but called on Muslims to moderate their reaction.

"We are a people who by the instructions of religion are bound to take the course of forgiveness and accommodation," he said.

"As much as we can do this, we must have, as Muslims, the courage to forgive and not make it an issue of dispute between religions or cultures."


Cartoon row rattles France
By Caroline Wyatt
BBC Paris correspondent

Muslim youth members of the Islamic movement Hamas burn the French flag Jerusalem: Muslim youth members of Hamas burned the French flag
On Friday the centre-left French newspaper Liberation printed two of the controversial Danish cartoons, describing them as "exhibits in the case".

While criticising the caricatures as mediocre, the newspaper said its decision had been taken out of a concern to reaffirm values which were being damaged in France.

"Liberation defends the freedom of expression," was the headline over the cartoons, one of which depicted the Prophet Muhammad on a cloud, telling suicide bombers to stop because heaven had run out of virgins.

At the same time, France Soir newspaper, which printed all 12 cartoons on Wednesday, published a message from its staff in support of managing editor Jacques Lefranc.

He was sacked by the paper's Egyptian-French owner Raymond Lakah on Wednesday night.

Freedom of expression

In the paper, the journalists insisted: "Let us repeat again and again: there is absolutely no question of stigmatising Islam and Muslims. Religion is not the issue here but intolerance."

In an attempt to calm the situation in the country with Europe's biggest Muslim population, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin reiterated the government's position - that freedom of expression was a necessity in France, but that respect was also important.

A journalist in the France Soir newsroom The editor of France Soir was sacked for publishing the cartoons
However, in a television interview, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy condemned the violent protests in Gaza and elsewhere.

"I am totally shocked and find it unacceptable that because there have been caricatures in the West, extremists can burn flags or take fundamentalist or extremist positions which would prove the cartoonists right," he said.

Yet the reaction by French Muslims has been relatively muted.

Official spokesmen for France's Muslim groups have all condemned the cartoons, and welcomed the sacking of the managing editor at France Soir.

The head of the French Council of Muslims said his group was looking into taking France Soir to court for provocation.

In Paris, many ordinary Muslims said they agreed that the cartoons themselves were hurtful and blasphemous.

"This is not the right time for newspapers to be publishing things like that", said Abdel Malik.

"People are upset and angry. After the 11 September terrorism, all of that, there are certain sensitivities. Muslims everywhere feel hurt by it."

This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at