George Bush expresses support for Denmark

7th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

7 February 2006, COPENHAGEN - US President George W. Bush has expressed his full support for Denmark in the ongoing controversy over the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Tuesday. Adressing a news conference, Rasmussen said both leaders had agreed on the need to resume "dialogue" and "tolerance." The premier conceded that this was not easy against the backdrop of mass protests in several Muslim nations, but underlined that Denmark was a "peaceful society

7 February 2006

COPENHAGEN - US President George W. Bush has expressed his full support for Denmark in the ongoing controversy over the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Tuesday.

Adressing a news conference, Rasmussen said both leaders had agreed on the need to resume "dialogue" and "tolerance."

The premier conceded that this was not easy against the backdrop of mass protests in several Muslim nations, but underlined that Denmark was a "peaceful society with a long democratic tradition."

Similar expressions of support were extended Monday by French President Jacques Chirac, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Rasmussen repeated that the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, which first published the cartoons in September, operated within the law and the government could not prevent the publication, and he welcomed calls for moderation from Danish Muslims.

The Danish premier said the crisis was "serious" and had escalated beyond a row between a Danish newspaper and Danish Muslims offended by the caricatures.

The Danish Foreign Ministry had earlier issued further travel warnings advising Danish nationals to postpone or cancel all non- essential travel to Indonesia and Afghanistan, where a military camp housing among others Norwegian soldiers came under mob attack Tuesday.

Denmark has no plans to withdraw its some 160-strong force from Afghanistan, Danish Defence Minister Soren Gade said.

Danes were also urged to be on the alert in the Philippines where Muslims have protested against the cartoons.

The Foreign Ministry in Copenhagen had on Monday listed 16 Muslim countries on its travel advisory list after embassies in Damascus and Beirut were set on fire over the weekend.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Ekrima Sabri, told a Danish newspaper in an interview published Tuesday that he doubted an immediate end to the ongoing protests.

"Denmark is an easy victim. It is a small country of no major importance for the Arab countries," Sabri told the Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper.

In Denmark, Jorgen Hansen of Aarhus, home to Jyllands-Posten, filed a police complaint against Jyllands-Posten saying that the newspaper had broken the law against blasphemy and also harmed national interests.

The prosecutor in Viborg has previously rejected a complaint by 11 Muslim organizations over blasphemy. But Hansen said his complaint was more extensive as it also included harm to national interests.

Some two dozen other Muslim organizations have appealed to the Director of Public Prosecutions to rule on whether the caricatures should be reviewed in court.

DPA

Subject. German news, international news

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