French daily prints anti-Islam cartoons

Al Jazeera
A French newspaper has reproduced a controversial set of caricatures, originally published in Denmark and decried in the Muslim world as blasphemous to the prophet Mohammed.

The Paris daily France Soir, on Wednesday, printed the dozen cartoons, explaining that it chose to do so to illustrate the polemic sparked by their original publication, in the Danish Jyllands-Posten paper last September.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister, had expressed alarm on Tuesday at the wave of anger in the Muslim world prompted by the caricatures.

"We are up against uncontrollable forces. It will take a huge effort to calm things down," he told Danish media after the offices of the paper which first published the controversial cartoons were evacuated following a bomb scare.

The bomb threat came as Muslim anger over the 12 cartoons, said to depict the Prophet Muhammad, boiled over into a diplomatic crisis threatening Danish trade relations with the Muslim world.

Rasmussen said that his government considered the growing dispute "extremely serious."

The French paper said it had decided to reprint them "not from an appetite for gratuitous provocation, but because they constitute the subject of a controversy on a global scale which has done nothing to maintain balance and mutual limits in democracy, respect of religious beliefs and freedom of expression".

According to France-Soir, "these 12 drawings could appear anodyne," but their publication, "which has tested the limits of the freedom of expression in Denmark has engendered a wave of indignation at anger in the Muslim world."

Published February 01, 2006, Al Jazeera

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