Danish politician says Egyptian daily misquoted him over Muslims
(dpa) - Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller Thursday said he had no plans to intervene on behalf of a Danish opposition politician who alleges he was misquoted about Muslims by an Egyptian daily.
"Villy Sovndal has been misquoted, so it is up to him to issue a disclaimer," Moller told Danish public broadcaster DR.
Sovndal, leader of the opposition Socialist People's Party that made strong gains in elections last year, has recently defended freedom of expression and in a blog criticized members of the radical Hizb-ut-Tahrir movement in the wake of an alleged plot to kill a Danish cartoonist.
Sovndahl said the group should leave Denmark for Saudi Arabia or Iraq if they wanted to introduce a Muslim state.
However, his remarks were reported as applying for all Muslims in Denmark according to the Monday edition of al-Gomhuria, the Jyllands- Posten newspaper said citing a Danish embassy translation.
"Everyone knows that I only referred to Hizb-ut-Tahrir," Sovndal said.
Moller said that being misquoted "happens to all of us," adding that "we live in a small world where everything one does has consequences. So both as an artist and a politician one has to be aware that what one says can be misunderstood."
Sovndal's stance on freedom of expression has earlier been welcomed by Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and recent opinion polls have suggested that the Socialist People's Party has replaced the Social Democrats as the main opposition party.
Sovndal was one of several politicians who reacted when security police last month said they had averted an alleged plot to murder newspaper cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
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.
Leading Danish newspapers reprinted the cartoons after the plot against Westergaard was disclosed, sparking new protests.
In a related development, a court was Thursday due to rule on an appeal from Westergaard to prevent an anti-Muslim group, Stop the Islamization of Denmark, from using the cartoon on placards in connection with a planned protest Saturday.
Westergaard has said he did not want to be "politically hijacked."