Denmark: Iran Rejects Rice Claim It Is Inflaming Muslim Prophet Row

JAKARTA, Indonesia – An Iranian vice president on Thursday rejected a US contention that his country was fanning Muslim anger over the Prophet Mohammad cartoons, while a newspaper in Malaysia faced closure for printing one of the images. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Washington that Iran and Syria have gone out of their way to inflame sentiments that have produced violent protests across the Muslim world against publication of the caricatures. That is 100 percent a lie, Isfandiar Rahim Mashaee, one of several Iranian vice presidents, told reporters during a visit to Indonesia. It is without attribution. The demonstrations – directed mostly at the foreign missions of Denmark, where the cartoons were first published – turned deadly this week in Afghanistan, where nine people have been fatally shot in clashes between demonstrators and security forces. The images – including one depicting the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb – have been reprinted in mostly Western media. Islam is interpreted to forbid any illustrations of the prophet. In Muslim-majority Malaysia, a newspaper that published printed one of the caricatures said it expected its printing license to be suspended by the government, while police launched an investigation over the issue. The Sarawak Press newspaper group has faced relentless public criticism despite apologizing for what it says was an editorial oversight that led to the publication of the caricature in its Sarawak Tribune last Saturday. We may not have publication of the newspaper by tomorrow, Sarawak Press executive director Polit Hamzah told The Associated Press on Thursday. Police questioned the editor who authorized the cartoon’s publication for two hours on Thursday and were examining whether the paper’s management broke any laws, the national news agency, Bernama, cited Sarawak’s police chief Talib Jamal as saying. The editor, Lester Melanyi, resigned over the controversy. In his first comments on the row, US President George W. Bush on Wednesday condemned deadly rioting in Afghanistan and urged foreign leaders to halt the violence and protect diplomats in besieged embassies. Police killed four people Wednesday as Afghans enraged over prophet drawings marched on a US military base in a volatile southern province. Five others were killed in protests earlier this week in Afghanistan. The US base was targeted because the United States is the leading infidel in the world, said Sher Mohammed, a 40-year-old farmer who suffered a gunshot wound while taking part in the demonstration in the city of Qalat. They are all the enemy of Islam. US officials say they are looking into whether extremist groups may be inciting protesters to riot. Zahor Afghan, editor for Erada, Afghanistan’s most respected newspaper, said the riots in his country have surprised him. No media in Afghanistan has published or broadcast pictures of these cartoons. The radio has been reporting on it, but there are definitely people using this to incite violence against the presence of foreigners in Afghanistan, he said. Afghanistan’s top Islamic organization, the Ulama Council, urged an end to the violence.

Denmark: Muslims Ask Government to Recall Envoy from Denmark

The Muslim clerics on Tuesday asked India to recall its ambassador to Denmark in the wake of publication of the Prophet’s caricature in a Danish newspaper. They also decided to hold demonstrations in Amethi and Rae Bareli, the Parliamentary constituencies of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi respectively, to protest the government’s vote at the IAEA meeting against Iran for its controversial nuclear programme.

Denmark: Danish Embassy In Teheran Firebombed

TEHERAN – Police used tear gas to briefly disperse hundreds of angry protesters who hurled stones and fire bombs at the Danish Embassy in the second attack on a Western mission in the Iranian capital on Monday over the publication of blasphemous caricatures. Police had encircled the embassy building but were unable to hold back the mob of 400 demonstrators as they pelted the walled brick villa that houses only the Danish mission with stones and Molotov cocktails. At least nine demonstrators were hurt in the melee, police said. About an hour into the demonstration, police fired tear gas into the mob, driving it into a nearby park. Later about 20 protesters returned and tried to break through police lines to enter the compound but were blocked by security forces. As the tear gas clouds dispersed, most of the rest of the crowd filtered back to the embassy and continued burning Danish flags and chanting anti-Danish slogans and God is Great. Two trees inside the embassy compound were set on fire by the gasoline bombs. The embassy gate was burned as was a police booth along the wall protecting the building. The Danish Foreign Ministry said it was not aware of any staff inside the building, which had closed for the day before the demonstration began. In a live television interview with the DR public television in Denmark, Ambassador Claus Juul Nielsen said the protesters vandalised the ground floor of the embassy, which included the trade and the visa departments. It now seems that the police control the situation, Juul Nielsen said. We have had no injuries among our staff, we were able to get out before it all started. The mob, which included about 100 women, ignored police orders to disperse continued to hurl firebombs, before they were hit with tear gas. The crowd disperesed by midnight. Earlier in the day, 200 student demonstrators threw stones at the Austrian Embassy, breaking some windows and starting small fires. Also on Monday, 200 members of Iran’s parliament issued a statement warning that those who published the cartoons should remember the case of Salman Rushdie – the British author against whom the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a death warrant for his novel The Satanic Verses. Apparently they have not learned from miserable life of the person who wrote Satanic Verses, the lawmakers said in the statement, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. Parliamentarians do not have the authority to issue a fatwa, or religious edict, like the one in which Khomeini called for Rushdie’s death in 1989. The Austrian mission in Teheran was targeted because Austria currently holds the presidency of the European Union. The demonstration at the Austrian Embassy lasted two hours, with protesters also throwing firecrackers that sparked the fires. Police quickly extinguished the blazes and stopped some protesters from throwing stones. On Monday night, a firebomb was thrown at the Austrian Cultural Centre in Teheran, causing no injuries, the Austrian Foreign Ministry said. Outside the embassy – located in a four-storey building in Teheran, the protesters chanted, Death to Denmark, death to Israel, and some burned flags of Germany, Denmark and France. One protester carried a caricature of German chancellor Angela Merkel. It was the first instance of violence over the drawings in Iran, though protests have occurred there. It came a day after thousands of Muslim demonstrators in Beirut set fire to the building housing the Danish mission in Beirut.

Denmark: Iran’s Caricature Retaliation Attracts Reaction

The Iranian newspaper Hamshahri’s launching of an international caricature contest on the holocaust as “retaliation” against insulting cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed caused a big reaction. The newspaper’s act has been perceived as provocation and Jewish establishments interpreted the contest as ” vidence that the spirit of Hitler is still alive in the Muslim world.” The newspaper published by the Tehran Municipality announced it will award prizes to “12 people” at the end of the contest. The responsible for the crisis Denmark-based Jyllands-Posten newspaper had published 12 caricatures. Meanwhile, both the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Tehran were attacked by demonstrators yesterday.