Muslim anger mounts over cartoons, movie
Sudan threatens to ban Danish aid workers; Europe braces for possible protests.
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The second publication of the Muhammad cartoons has pitted sections of the Muslim world against those who defend the media's right to publish or broadcast what it wishes. The German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Wednesday more European newspapers should publish the cartoons in response to the protests in the Sudan, the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports.Skip to next paragraph
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"All European newspapers should print the [Muhammad] caricatures with the explanation, 'We also think they're pathetic, but the use of press freedom is no reason to resort to violence," Mr. Schaeuble said.
In Egypt, a Muslim-Christian body, the Al-Azhar Vatican interfaith dialogue, denounced the republication of the cartoons on Tuesday, press agency Adnkronos International reports. The Al-Azhar-Vatican committee issued a final statement after a two-day meeting calling on Christianity and Islam to respect each others' beliefs and symbols. The Al-Azhar mosque is among the most respected sources of learning within Sunni Islam.
Pakistan condemned the republication of the cartoons on Wednesday, saying they had offended Muslim feelings and sentiment, Chinese state-owned news agency Xinhua reports.
"No civilized society should allow disrespect of the belief system of other communities," the statement said, adding the cartoons had deeply offended Muslims all over the world. The government said the cartoons had incited growing Islamophobia in Europe, undermining efforts to build understanding between Islam and the West.
Tensions have also risen over Wilders's film. Pakistan telecommunication authorities ordered the video-sharing website YouTube blocked on Feb. 22. The ban disrupted YouTube worldwide on Sunday, but Pakistan lifted it two days later after the video was removed, reports Wired Magazine's blog Threat Level. Others attributed the ban to Internet videos showing election discrepancies in Pakistan, reports Pakistan's The News.
So far, Wilders has given few details about the content of his film, "Fitna," other than saying he intends to present his views about the Koran.
In the past, he has said the Koran should be banned, likening it to Adolf Hitler's book, "Mein Kampf." Wilders said the film may be televised and would be available on a special Internet site, www.fitnathemovie.com, aimed at dodging any access restrictions.
This week, Pakistan upper house of parliament adopted a resolution condemning efforts to denigrate Islam and promote hatred, referring to the prophet Muhammad cartoons and Wilders's film specifically.
The Dutch government said it was worried about its reputation and the security of Dutch citizens living abroad. Since the 2004 murder of Dutch director and columnist Theo Van Gogh, a columnist who directed a film criticizing women's position in Islam was killed by a radical Muslim, Wilders has been living under police protection.