Denmark’s Newspaper Apologises Over Cartoons?

Things have most definitely escalated to a whole new level here. Embassies closing, Ambassadors recalled, Boycotts, Protests, UN Resolutions? Woah, who would’ve thought the Arab world had some guts. Maybe we can focus this kind of energy on other issues like Palestine. Ya know, just as an experiment, we’ll see how it goes.

An Apology?

After Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Copenhagen and declared a boycott for all Danish products, the Danish Industrialists Association asked Jyllands Posten to make an official apology.

The newspaper attracting the widespread reaction of the Muslim world with the cartoon titled, “Mohammed’s Faces,” finally took a step back and published a letter with “an implied apology”. The letter signed by Editor Carsten Juste was also translated into Arabic.

Jyllands Posten, earlier insisting on its attitude, apologized politely and admitted it had unintentionally offended all Muslims.

The letter read: “We are sorry that the incident reached this point. We want to express again and again that our goal was not to offend or disrespect anyone. We respect freedom of religion just as Danish society does.”

…Danish Industrialists, intervening as the boycott against Danish products launched in Saudi Arabia started to quickly spread, made the following address to Jyllands Posten:

Freedom of expression requires responsibility. This responsibility requires Jyllans Posten to sympathize with the people offended by the cartoons published. It is time to break the silence.” The newspaper’s editor Carsten Juste rejecting the DI’s claims said: “The DI blames us for keeping quiet. But, why were they quiet until now? They step in only now that the discussions are affecting their trade.”

Backtrack…Let’s see what happened in the past 2 days or so…

Clinton Likens Cartoons to Anti-Semitism?

Bill Clinton warned of rising anti-Islamic prejudice, comparing it to historic anti-Semitism as he condemned the publishing of cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper.

“So now what are we going to do? … Replace the anti-Semitic prejudice with anti-Islamic prejudice?” he said at an economic conference in the Qatari capital of Doha.

“In Europe, most of the struggles we’ve had in the past 50 years have been to fight prejudices against Jews, to fight against anti-Semitism,” he said.

Clinton described as “appalling” the 12 cartoons published in a Danish newspaper in September depicting Prophet Mohammed and causing uproar in the Muslim world.

“None of us are totally free of stereotypes about people of different races, different ethnic groups, and different religions … there was this appalling example in northern Europe, in Denmark … these totally outrageous cartoons against Islam,” he said.

UN Resolutions?

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Arab League, the Muslim world’s two main political bodies, are seeking a UN resolution, backed by possible sanctions, to protect religions following the publication of cartoons depicting and ridiculing Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

“Consultations are currently taking place at the highest level between Arab countries and the OIC to ask the UN to adopt a binding resolution banning contempt of religious beliefs and providing for sanctions to be imposed on contravening countries or institutions,” Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, OIC’s secretary general, told reporters in Cairo on Sunday, January 29, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

He said the UN General Assembly would be asked to “pass a resolution banning attacks on religious beliefs.”

Libya?

Libya said Sunday it was closing its embassy in Denmark in protest against the publication of the caricatures.

“In light of the attacks against Prophet Muhammad and the silence of the Danish authorities, Libya has decided to close down its diplomatic representation in Copenhagen,” the Foreign Ministry announced in a statement run by the official Jana news agency.

The statement added that Libya would take “retaliatory economic measures against Denmark.”

Syria & Bahrain?

Syria and Bahrain were the latest Arab countries to join the chorus.

“Syria calls on the Danish government to take the necessary measures to punish the culprits. The dialogue of civilizations is based on mutual respect,” said an official quoted by the official Syrian news agency on Sunday.

The Bahraini cabinet, at a meeting on Sunday, condemned the cartoons “which are a deliberate attack against the glorious Prophet Muhammad and have angered Muslims the world over.”

Crazy AlQueda in Iraq?

An Iraqi militant group called on Monday for attacks against Danish and Norwegian targets over satirical cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Mohammad, saying a boycott of goods was not enough, according to an Internet statement.

“Boycotting cheese and dairy products alone is a flimsy stance that fits a weak nation that cannot defend its prophet … They started this and they have to shoulder the responsibilities,” said the statement attributed to the Mujahideen Army.

It called on its fighters to “hit whatever targets possible belonging to these two countries and other (countries) that follow their steps.”

The statement could not be authenticated but it was posted on a main Web site used by Iraqi insurgent groups

Palestine?

Masked gunmen on Monday briefly took over a European Union office to protest a Danish newspaper’s publication of cartoons

…The gunmen demanded an apology from Denmark and Norway, and said citizens of the two countries would be prevented from entering the Gaza Strip.

“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 militants.

UAE?

UAE Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs has strongly condemned some Danish and Norwegian newspapers for publishing blasphemous cartoons.

…Al Dhaheri said â??this is cultural terrorism … not freedom of expression. The repercussions of such irresponsible acts will have adverse impact on international relations.â?

The minister called for applying deterrent international legal measures against such desecrating acts. He urged governments and civic organisations to protect religious symbols against violation. (see also: boycott)

An EU Scolding?

EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson has warned he may take the Saudi Arabian government to the WTO if it backed the boycott of Danish products following the publication of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper, his spokesman said.

“Mr Mandelson explained that the Danish boycott would be a boycott of the EU and the matter is very serious,” spokesman Peter Power said.

“He made it clear that if the Saudi government had encouraged the boycott he would regret having to take the matter to the WTO,” Power said, citing comments made by Mandelson to his Saudi counterpart at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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