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February 3, 2006   VNN8907  

Muslim Anger On Cartoons Spreads


EUROPE, Feb 3 (VNN) — PARIS, France (Reuters) -- Denmark said on Friday it could not apologize for cartoons in a Danish newspaper depicting the Prophet Mohammad as outrage spread across the Muslim world from the Middle East to countries in Asia.

More European newspapers published the cartoons on Friday, arguing freedom of speech was sacred, but angry Muslims staged violent protests against jokes they consider blasphemous.

Depicting the picture of the prophet is prohibited under Sharia law.

"Neither the Danish government nor the Danish nation as such can be held responsible for drawings published in a Danish newspaper," Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after meeting with Muslim envoys in Copenhagen.

"A Danish government can never apologize on behalf of a free and independent newspaper," he said. "This is basically a dispute between some Muslims and a newspaper." Up to 300 hardline Islamic activists in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, went on a rampage in the lobby of a building housing the Danish embassy in Jakarta.

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