Denmark monitors reactions after reprinting of Mohammed cartoons

Other News Materials 20 February 2008 21:24 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - The Danish government is "monitoring" reactions to the recent republication of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday.

A week ago, leading Danish newspapers reprinted the cartoons after police said they had averted an alleged plot to murder newspaper cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. Three men were arrested over the plot.

Westergaard's depiction of the Prophet Mohammed with a bomb in his turban was one of 12 published in newspapers that sparked violent protests in 2006 by Muslims around in the world, and triggered a boycott of Danish goods.

Rasmussen said he did not fear a repeat of the 2006 events despite recent criticism by among others Iran, Egypt and Pakistan.

The prime minister told Danish news agency Ritzau that Copenhagen could "not interfere" with what Danish newspapers or media published.

"They have to understand that in Muslim countries," he added.

Rasmussen welcomed reactions backing freedom of expression by among others Villy Sovndahl, leader of the opposition Socialist People's Party who in a blog criticized members of the radical Hizb- ut-Tahrir movement.

Sovndahl said the group should leave Denmark for Saudi Arabia or Iraq if they wanted to introduce a Muslim state.

A week ago Danish parliamentarians cancelled a trip to Iran after Tehran demanded an apology for the republication of the cartoons.