Wednesday, March 19, 2008

UAE warns Denmark on cartoon

,ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates yesterday warned Denmark that the republication of a controversial cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in Danish newspapers could undermine ties between the two states. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohamed Gargash summoned Denmark’s ambassador, Hans Klingenbeg, and handed him a letter of protest over the cartoon, the official Wam news agency said. “The Emirates... condemns the unwise attitude of the Danish government which failed to stop the reprinting of caricatures slanderous for Islam and Prophet Muhammad,” said Gargash after meeting the non-resident ambassador. “The Danish government could do a lot to put an end to attacks on Islam,” Gargash said, according to Wam, adding that the re-printing of the cartoon could have “negative consequences for bilateral relations.” Gargash insisted that the UAE “rejects any attack against our Islamic heritage. It is also opposed to freedom of opinion serving as a cover to the slandering of our religion and our prophet.” Protests have raged in a number of Muslim countries since 17 Danish dailies on February 13 reprinted a drawing featuring the Prophet Muhammad. The newspapers decided to republish the caricature, originally printed in 2005, a day after police in Denmark foiled a plot to murder the cartoonist.Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has defended the newspapers which reprinted the cartoon, while insisting their aim was not to offend Muslims. “It’s important to explain that the media did not publish these drawings to hurt people’s religious feelings, but because in a democratic regime with a free press, it’s normal to be able to illustrate your story,” Rasmussen said. Several supermarkets in Muslim including the UAE and neighbouring Oman have stopped selling Danish products in protest at the cartoon publication. —AFP

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