Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Muslim anger boils over Danish cartoons

The Daily Star - Politics - Muslim anger boils over Danish cartoons: "Four months after the fact, Muslim anger over the publication in Scandinavia of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad has snowballed into a full-fledged crisis threatening Nordic trade and security.

Cartoons including a portrayal of the Prophet wearing a time-bomb shaped turban were published in a Danish newspaper last September and reprinted in a Norwegian magazine in January, sparking uproar in the Muslim world.

The row has taken a new dimension over the past days, with Danish flags being burned, products being boycotted and an Internet call by purported Iraqi militants calling for attacks on any Danish or Norwegian target.

Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood on Monday was the latest group to join a chorus of calls for the boycott of Danish and Norwegian products.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson warned a Saudi official during a meeting in the Swiss ski resort of Davos that any boycott of Danish products was tantamount to a boycott of European goods.

Mandelson's spokesman warned Riyadh that it could have to take the matter to the World Trade Organization if the Saudi government encouraged the boycott.

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton described the cartoons as "appalling" during an economic conference in the Qatari capital, Doha.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, in Tunis for a meeting of Arab interior ministers, decried the "double standards" in the European media.

Danish-Swedish dairy product maker Arla Foods, with annual sales of 3 billion Danish crowns ($487 million) in the region.

The group said it had temporarily shut down production in Saudi Arabia.

The Danish government has said the views expressed by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper did not reflect its own but has consistently refused to apologize and has insisted it would defend freedom of expression."

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