Denmark Rocked By New Cartoon Row

Last Updated: Monday, 9 October 2006, 09:27 GMT 10:27 UK
BBC News

Denmark rocked by new cartoon row

The Danish prime minister has denounced the drawing of new cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad by members of an anti-immigration party's youth wing.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen intervened in an apparent effort to prevent a repeat of the widespread protests over similar cartoons a year ago.

Danish People's Party activists were shown on TV drawing the images, which were condemned in the Muslim world.

Iran and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said the new cartoons insulted Islam.

Iran protested to the Danish government on Sunday, saying it was “deplorable that the extremist elements in Danish society have attempted to sabotage Denmark's relations with the Islamic countries once again”.

'Tasteless' drawings

The activists were filmed at a summer camp, drinking, singing and taking part in a competition to draw images of Muhammad, including one depicting him as a camel with beer bottles as humps.

The publication a year ago of newspaper cartoons – one depicting Muhammad with a bomb in his turban – led to violent protests in which more than 50 people died in Muslim countries.

Mr Rasmussen, who insisted then that he could not control independent media, condemned the latest drawings as “tasteless” and “unacceptable”.

He said the activists' behaviour “in no way represents the way the Danish people… view Muslims or Islam”.

Danish Muslim leaders, who last year travelled abroad to rally support for their protests, said they would not be provoked by the latest incident, the BBC's religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott reports.