World Muslim Body Criticizes Eu Over Cartoons

The leader of the world’s largest Muslim body criticized the European Union on Friday for what he described as an unsatisfactory response to the furor over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said that by simply regretting that Muslims found the cartoons offensive, EU foreign ministers had not gone far enough at a meeting in Brussels last week. “We expected the EU to address the issue of cartoons in a more fair way,” Ihsanoglu told a news conference in London. “I must say that we are not satisfied with the result of last week’s meeting in Brussels. The conclusion published by the European Union fell short of our expectations.” The 12 cartoons, which Ihsanoglu described as “insulting, ugly and uncivilized,” were first published by a Danish newspaper and then reprinted by papers across Europe. They sparked indignation and violence in the Muslim world, where images of the prophet are deemed blasphemous. At least 50 people were killed in anti-Western protests and three Danish embassies were attacked. The furor exposed a gulf of misunderstanding between the West, which defended the publication by citing the right of free speech, and Muslims who saw it as an attack on their beliefs. In their February 27 statement, EU foreign ministers issued a strong condemnation of attacks on EU citizens and property. Diplomats noted the statement was more critical of the Muslim reaction than one issued days earlier by the United Nations, the Arab League and the OIC, an umbrella group of 57 predominantly Muslim nations.