COPENHAGEN, Oct 20: The ambassadors of Muslim countries to Denmark have protested against 12 newspaper sketches of Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in a letter to Denmark’s prime minister, his office said on Thursday.

An Islamic group also threatened to carry out attacks in the Scandinavian country over the affair, media reported.

Images of the Holy Prophet are blasphemous under Islam.

The 12 drawings by two cartoonists, which appeared in Denmark’s largest circulation daily Jyllands-Posten on Sept 30, have drawn criticism from across the Muslim community in Denmark, with religious leaders insisting they are an insult to the Holy Prophet and calling for an official apology.

In a letter to Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, diplomats from Arab Countries, Pakistan, Iran, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Indonesia said they were offended by the sketches and demanded an official apology from the newspaper, the prime minister’s office said.

They requested a meeting with Rasmussen, who is also in charge of media affairs, to express their concern about anti-Muslim and anti-Islam campaigns in the press and certain far-right political circles.

Last week, as many as 5,000 Muslims demonstrated in Copenhagen against the paper and the sketches, which depicted the Holy Prophet in different settings.

Meanwhile, an Islamic group calling itself Glory Brigades in Northern Europe issued threats against Jyllands-Posten and Denmark on the website, Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende reported in its online edition.

AFP was unable to find the link and it was unclear whether it was later removed from the site, but Berlingske Tidende said in its report that it showed Copenhagen images with the caption: “The Mujahedeen have numerous targets in Denmark. Very soon you will regret this.”

The editors of Jyllands-Posten meanwhile stood by the sketches and rejected the diplomats’ demand for an apology in the name of freedom of expression.

“We live in a democracy where satire and caricature are generally accepted, and religion should not set limits on that,” chief editor Carsten Juste said.

Islam is the second religion in Denmark after the Evangelical-Lutheran state church, with some 180,000 members or three per cent of the population.

Last week, a 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of issuing death threats to the two cartoonists.—AFP



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