Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2010 20:13 pm (KSA) 17:13 pm (GMT)

Egypt summons Danish envoy over cartoons

Egypt on Tuesday summoned the ambassador of Denmark in Cairo to protest the reprinting of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad in Danish newspapers, and banned the sale of four western newspapers over the same issue, the latest backlash in a row over cartoons that have enraged the Muslim world.

"The insistence of the Danish media to insult Islam again is unfortunate since the incident of publishing the cartoons has undoubtedly confirmed that such shameful acts only lead to more tension," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Under a decree issued by Information Minister Anas al-Fiqi, Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Die Welt, Britain's Observer and the U.S. Wall Street Journal will not be sold, the official MENA news agency reported.

"Any newspaper or magazine which publishes anything offensive to the prophet... and reprints the offensive caricatures of the prophet or anything offensive to the three heavenly religions will be banned," Fiqi said.

Protests and riots erupted in many Muslim countries in 2006 when the cartoons, one showing the Prophet wearing a turban resembling a bomb, first appeared in a Danish daily. At least 50 people were killed and three Danish embassies attacked.

Egypt is the most populous Arab country and is home to al-Azhar mosque, the highest seat of Sunni Muslim learning.

The Egyptian Football Association said on Tuesday it had called off two friendly matches between the Egyptian and Danish youth teams, also because of the cartoons.

Ahmed Shoubeir, vice president of the football association, said the reprints were "provocative". "This is hurting the feeling of Muslims in a way that we have never seen," he said.

The Egyptian youth team was scheduled to host the Danish team this month but will instead play the United Arab Emirates on March 1, Shoubeir told Reuters.

On Monday, the Danish Football Federation (DBU) said that Egypt had cancelled two youth internationals against Denmark over the cartoons. The DBU said the Egyptians had cited "security reasons" for the cancellation of the matches scheduled for February 26 and 28 in Egypt.

"The Egyptians did not mention specific threats against the Danish players. But as they are not guaranteeing our security it is normal not to send our youngsters to Egypt," DBU spokesman Lars Berendt told AFP.

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