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Terrorism & Security

Republished Danish cartoon of prophet Muhammad ignites tensions

Muslims have protested Danish and Dutch actions they see as insulting to Islam.

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The republication of the cartoons has drawn condemnation among Muslims. Arab News reported from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, that the secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) had expressed regret about the new move.

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Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu urged Muslims to use legal and peaceful means to protest the outrage. He said that he wished the Danish media would have chosen another subject as a test case to reassert the freedom of speech instead of supporting a blatant act of incitement to hatred in a most unfortunate and senseless manner, noting that the newspapers were aware that this act would offend not only Danish Muslims but the world's other 1.3 billion Muslims who have nothing to do with the alleged three-man terror plot.

In Iran, which has also attempted to prevent the screening of a controversial film – it would air views about the Koran held by a Dutch right-wing populist lawmaker – the cartoons sparked immediate backlash from parliamentarians, reported the Tehran Times:

In a letter to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, some 215 MPs in Iran's 290-seat assembly said Iran should review trade and political links with Denmark and the Netherlands to respond to "an anti-Islamic and Islamophobic current" in the two countries.
We, representatives of the honorable Iranian nation, condemn this devil measure. We ask the president ... to seriously review Iran's political and trade ties with these countries," the lawmakers wrote in the letter, state radio said.

The Danish government, however, has refused to condemn the republication of the cartoons and, in an act praised by Israel's Ynet News, the government canceled an official delegation that was due to travel to Iran:

A group of Danish lawmakers has cancelled a trip to Iran because Tehran demanded they condemn the reprinting of Prophet Muhammad cartoons in newspapers, a spokeswoman said Saturday.
Ten members of the parliament's Foreign Policy Committee, including Denmark's former foreign minister Mogens Lykketoft, were scheduled to visit Iran between Feb. 18 and Feb. 21.
Mette Vestergaard, a committee official, confirmed the cancellation. "The Iranian ambassador asked the Foreign Policy Committee to condemn the drawings. They can't and they won't," she said without giving more details."
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