Es geht weiter, immer weiter um zwölf Cartoons

Es geht weiter, immer weiter um zwölf Cartoons

GAZA (Reuters) – Thousands of Palestinians protested against Denmark on Tuesday for allowing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad to be published, and Arab ministers called on the Copenhagen government to punish the newspaper that printed them.

Demonstrators burned Danish flags, chanted “War on Denmark, Death to Denmark” and called for an Arab boycott of products from the small north European country until it showed contrition for the satirical caricatures deemed blasphemous by Islam.

The offices of the Danish newspaper were evacuated on Tuesday after a bomb threat, but were later given the all-clear after police with sniffer dogs searched the building.

The newspaper apologized on Monday, but that was not enough for the Gaza protesters.

“We feel great rage at the continued attacks on Islam and the Prophet of Islam and we demand that the Danish government make a clear and public apology for the wrongful crime,” Nafez Azzam, a leader of Islamic Jihad, told the crowd of supporters of his militant group outside U.N. headquarters.

The protesters fired bullets in the air and burned Danish and U.S. flags as well as portraits of Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and U.S. President George W. Bush.

Arab interior ministers called for retribution.

“We ask the Danish authorities to take the necessary measures to punish those responsible for this harm and to take action to avoid a repeat,” Arab interior ministers said in a statement after a meeting in Tunis.

Muslim leaders in Denmark said they were satisfied with the newspaper’s apology and urged an end to the boycott.

“We will in clear terms thank the prime minister and Jyllands-Posten for what they have done,” said Kasem Ahmad, spokesman of the Islamic Religious Community in Denmark.

But in Iraq, the influential Sunni Muslim Cleric’s Association backed the boycott, and widened it to Norway where a newspaper has also printed the cartoons.

“We join our voices to those who called for an economic and diplomatic boycott of Denmark and Norway unless those two countries submit an official apology and admit their mistake,” a spokesman said.

Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg expressed regret.

“We cannot apologize for something written by newspapers in a country with freedom of expression like Norway,” Norway’s NTB news agency quoted him as saying on Tuesday. “But I am sad that this may have been hurtful for many Muslims.”

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