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Cartoon rage in Sweden

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By Michelle Malkin  •  August 31, 2007 03:06 PM

modog.jpg Paul Marshall at NRO looks at the latest outbreak of Mo cartoon rage in Sweden. Background from Allah and Baron Bodissey at Gates of Vienna, which began tracking the story in July. LGF has Sweden’s response. The government told Pakistan it is sorry for “hurt feelings.”

Muslims gathered outside the Nerikes Allehanda newspaper in Orebro to support the freedom of speech of the offending cartoonist.

No, just making sure you’re paying attention.

They protested and demanded an apology, of course:

Scores of Muslims staged a demonstration Friday against a Swedish newspaper and demanded that its chief editor apologize for publishing a drawing depicting the Prohet Muhammad with a dog’s body.

The rally outside the Nerikes Allehanda newspaper in Orebro followed formal protests by Iran and Pakistan in a brewing conflict over the cartoon made by Swedish artist Lars Vilks.

Sweden’s prime minister called for mutual respect between Muslims, Christians and nonreligious groups in an attempt to avert a wider conflict. Last year, fiery protests erupted in Muslim countries after a Danish newspaper published 12 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Islamic law is interpreted to forbid any depiction of the prophet for fear it could lead to idolatry. About 300 people rallied outside the newspaper’s offices, demanding an apology and saying the cartoon, a rough sketch showing Muhammad’s head on a dog’s body, was insulting to Muslims, the news agency TT reported. “We want to show Nerike’s Allehanda that Muslims in this city are upset over what happened,” Jamal Lamhamdi, chairman of the Islamic cultural center in Orebro, told Swedish public radio. Orebro is a city of about 100,000 residents, 125 miles west of Stockholm.

Earlier, a handful of people, mostly youth, staged a separate demonstration outside the newspaper in defense of press freedom, TT reported. Nerikes Allehanda editor-in-chief Ulf Johansson met with Lamhamdi but refused to apologize for the cartoon, which was part of an Aug. 19 editorial criticizing several Swedish art galleries for refusing to display a series of prophet drawings by Vilks. “They say they are offended and I regret that, because our purpose was not to offend anyone,” Johansson told The Associated Press. “But they are asking for an apology and a promise that I never again publish a similar image … and that I cannot do.” The editorial defended “Muslims’ right to freedom of religion” but also said it must be permitted to “ridicule Islam’s most foremost symbols — just like all other religions’ symbols.”

The Organization of the Islamic Conference is stirring up the Religion of Perpetual Outrage pot.

The cartoonist speaks:

Vilks said he made the drawings after being invited to contribute to an art exhibition in central Sweden on the theme of dogs.

“To begin with, the message was to make a critical contribution on the dog theme, but it took another direction,” Vilks told AP in a phone interview. “Why can you not criticize Islam when you can criticize other religions?”

Question of the century.

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