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Palestinian Militants Protest, Threaten Over Cartoons

Protest in Pakistan denouncing the Danish newspaper on 1 February (epa) 2 February 2006 -- A group of armed Palestinians briefly surrounded European Union offices in Gaza today, protesting newspaper cartoons that they said are offensive to Muslims.

"The European insults will make all European institutions and their churches in Gaza a target for our [attacks]," one man said.

The cartoons, which first appeared in a Danish newspaper, triggered protests from Muslim governments and other organizations.

In addition to France and Denmark, the caricatures have also been reproduced in publications in Norway, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Two armed groups in the Palestinian territories, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the Popular Resistance Committee, today threatened to target nationals of all countries that had published the caricatures.

In Pakistan today, many religious schools, or madrasahs, called on the government to withdraw Pakistan's ambassador to Denmark over the cartoons.

The editor of a French newspaper that reprinted the controversial cartoons has reportedly been fired.

Editor in Chief Carsten Juste of the Danish newspaper "Politiken," which first published the cartoons, today said that if he had know what a controversy it would spark, he would not have printed them.

(compiled from agency reports)

Islam In A Pluralistic World

Islam In A Pluralistic World

A Muslim woman (left) watches a Christian procession in Madrid in March (AFP)


CONFERENCE ON ISLAM: A major international conference on Islam concluded in Vienna in November 2005 with strong appeals from prominent Muslim leaders to recognize international terrorism as simply "terrorism." Political figures from Islamic countries, including the presidents of Iraq and Afghanistan, argued that it should never be labeled "Islamic" or "Muslim" terrorism because Islam is based on peace, dialogue, and tolerance. "Salaam" -- meaning "peace" -- was the key word of the three-day conference, titled "ISLAM IN A PLURALISTIC WORLD."
Iraqi President Jalal Talibani and Afghan President Hamid Karzai used the word in their remarks to emphasize the peaceful nature of Islam. Other speakers quoted passages from the Koran to the effect that all men and women, regardless of faith, are creatures of God and should live in peace with each other without discrimination...(more)


Listen to Afghan President HAMID KARZAI's complete address to the Vienna conference (in English):
Real Audio Windows Media


Listen to UN special envoy LAKHDAR BRAHIMI's complete address to the Vienna conference (in English):
Real Audio Windows Media

THE COMPLETE PICTURE: Click on the image to view a thematic webpage devoted to issues of religious tolerance in RFE/RL's broadcast region and around the globe.