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Afghan President Calls For Calm Over Muhammad Cartoons

Pakistani protesters burning a Danish flag on 2 February (epa) 3 February 2006 -- As condemnation of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad increased around the Muslim world today, Afghan President Hamid Karzai called for calm and forgiveness while expressing disapproval of the caricatures.

"Freedom of the press doesn't mean we have the right to insult people's religions, beliefs, and cultures," he said. "We should not have this right either in Afghanistan, or in Europe, or anywhere else. Freedom of the press must be within the principles of abidance and respect for people's religion, morals and culture."

Reaction was much sharper from other Muslim leaders and countries.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf condemned the cartoons and Pakistan's parliament passed a resolution denouncing them, calling them a "vicious, outrageous, and provocative campaign."

Jordan's King Abdullah II, in a statement released today, called the cartoons an unjustifiable crime and said he would not tolerate any insult to Islam.

In the Indonesian capital Jakarta, up to 300 Muslims broke into a building housing the Danish Embassy, pelted the coat-of-arms with eggs and tore up a Danish flag before dispersing.

Protests against the cartoon were also held in Iran, Iraq, the Palestinian territories, and in Makhachkala, capital of the southern Russian republic of Daghestan.

In Denmark, where the cartoon was first published in newspapers, Egyptian Ambassador Mona Omar Attia met with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and told him that Demark's response to controversy had so far been inadequate.

(AP, AFP, dpa)

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