Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2010 20:15 pm (KSA) 17:15 pm (GMT)

Reprint Prophet cartoons in Europe: German MP

Schauble said he "respected" the Danish press for their decision to reprint the cartoon (File)
Schauble said he "respected" the Danish press for their decision to reprint the cartoon (File)

The German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schauble called Wednesday on "all European newspapers" to follow Denmark's example and publish the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) cartoons in defense of freedom of the press.

Speaking to weekly magazine Die Zeit in German, Schauble said: "Actually, all European newspapers should now print these caricatures, with the explanation: We also find them lousy, but the use of press freedom is no reason to practice violence."

In mid-February, 17 Danish newspapers reprinted a caricature of Prophet Muhammed in retaliation for a foiled plot by extremists to murder the cartoonist, the newspapers stood in solidarity under the banner of freedom of expression.

The German minister said he supported the decision of the Danish press.

"I have respect for the fact that Danish newspapers have now all printed the Muhammad caricatures, on the basis: we will not let ourselves be divided," Schaeuble was quoted as saying by Die Zeit.

The cartoons were originally published in 2006, with one depicting the Prophet wearing a turban with a lit bomb fuse. They caused uproar among Muslims around the world, who saw the cartoons as offensive and derogatory to the Prophet.

Since the republication, Sudan has called for a boycott of Danish goods, Jordanian media have protested, thousands of Bahrainis have demonstrated, and other protests have been held in Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia and Gaza.

Danish PM defends newspapers

Meanwhile, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen defended the 17 Danish newspapers, 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 told reporters.

Rasmussen said the current situation was "uncertain" following the protests, noting there were reports "that religious extremist circles were trying to exploit it" and that it was "difficult to predict" how the protests would evolve.

He added that Denmark had "learned from experience" from the 2006 crisis.

The government had set up "a very developed system to keep abreast of what is going on" to enable it to be "very proactive with governments in Muslim countries."

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