Anti-Denmark campaign gathers momentum after reprinting of cartoons

Other News Materials 17 February 2008 15:41 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- The head of a pan-Arab consumer group Sunday urged Arabs to stage an "irreversible boycott" of Danish goods in retaliation for the recent reprinting of cartoons deemed blasphemous to the Prophet Mohammad.

"The boycott of Danish products has become a duty that should be carried out by all consumers in Arab and Islamic countries in the light of the Danish newspapers' failure to show due respect to the feelings of Muslims under the pretext of freedom of opinion and expression," Mohammad Obeidat said.

Obeidat, chairman of the Federation of Arab Consumers, made the appeal to the 13 Arab countries which are members of the organization.

Danish newspapers earlier this week reprinted the cartoons that enraged the Muslim world when they first appeared in Danish and other western publications in early 2006.

The newspapers said they reprinted the pictures to show their commitment to freedom of speech after Tuesday's arrest of two Tunisians and a Dane of Moroccan origin accused of plotting to kill the cartoonist.

"The economic boycott of Denmark is the best way to apply pressure on all those who dare to insult Muslims," said Obeidat, who is also head of Jordan's Consumers Protection Society.

Consumers in the Islamic world boycotted Danish products in 2006, but it tapered off after a few months, apparently following moves by Danish officials to calm down the situation

The reprinting of the cartoons was also condemned by the Islamic Action Front (IAF), Jordan's largest political party, which called for "deterrent action" against Denmark.

The renewed publication of the cartoons is "something that relates to racial and fanatic mobilization against Muslims", IAF Deputy Secretary General Rhayyel Gharaibeh said in a statement.