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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

New Danish Legal Response to Cartoons


Monday, February 20, 2006

Denmark may ban religious slander after Muhammad cartoons furor
Katerina Ossenova at 6:53 PM ET

[JURIST] The Danish ambassador to Saudi Arabia has said that Denmark will take steps to ban religious slander in accordance with Danish and European laws, according to reports Monday. As a result of the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad [JURIST news archive], Ambassador Hanz Kingburgh met with Muslim World League [advocacy website] General Secretary Abdullah al-Turki Monday and discussed Denmark's plans to take legal measures as well as offering the apology offered by the Danish newspaper which was reprinted in the Saudi press over the weekend. The cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad first appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten [media website] in September and were later reprinted [Le Monde slide show] in other European and world papers, sparking violent protests the Middle East and Asia. UPI has more. EU officials have to this point been unreceptive to suggestions that the regional block adopt formal laws banning religious slander, but EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana said last week after a meeting with the head of the Organization of the Islamic Conference [official website] that the EU and the OIC "are considering certain ideas to safeguard and protect religious values in general, but the time is not appropriate to disclose the details." UPI has more.

Meanwhile, a Shariat Court in India has issued a religious decree sentencing the author of the Danish cartoons to death. The fatwa [Wikipedia backgrounder] was issued Sunday after an Indian provincial minister announced a cash reward for the person beheading the cartoonist, but its significance in India is debatable as Islamic law does not formally apply in the Hindu state. Local Muslim leaders insist, however, that it is applicable wherever Muslims live. Press Trust of India has more.