Sarawak Tribune Suspended After Running Prohpet Muhammad Cartoons

Kuala Lumpur — Malaysia will suspend the publishing licence of a daily newspaper after it printed the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have enraged Muslims worldwide, news agency Bernama reported yesterday. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi ordered the licence of the publisher of the Sarawak Tribune to be suspended indefinitely with immediate effect. The publisher was not immediately available for comment. The paper ran the caricatures last weekend to illustrate a story on its inside pages about the global fury in what it called an “oversight” by a non-Muslim night editor. The incident embarrassed the mainly Muslim country’s government, which is headed by an Islamic scholar who chairs the world’s largest grouping of Islamic nations, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. “Cabinet members…unanimously agreed with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that the reproduction of the offensive cartoons was a serious offence which demanded stern action from the government,” the New Straits Times newspaper said. The suspension is pending the outcome of an investigation by the Internal Security Ministry, the newspaper said. Tens of thousands of Muslims have demonstrated in the Middle East, Asia and Africa over the cartoons, first published in Denmark, then other countries in Europe and elsewhere. One caricature showed the Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban. Many Muslims consider any portrayal of their Prophet as blasphemous, let alone one showing him as a terrorist. The Sarawak Tribune is published in the eastern state of Sarawak on the jungle-clad island of Borneo. It is one of the few Malaysian states where Muslims are in a minority.