Danish paper apologises to Muslims in cartoon row
Danish daily Politiken on Friday apologised to Muslims for possibly offending them by reproducing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in 2008, but said it did not regret publishing the drawings.world Updated: Feb 26, 2010 19:11 IST
Danish daily Politiken on Friday apologised to Muslims for possibly offending them by reproducing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in 2008, but said it did not regret publishing the drawings.
"We apologize to anyone who was offended by our decision to reprint the cartoon drawing," the newspaper said in a statement.
Politiken is the first Danish newspaper to formally apologise to those who may have resented the publication of the cartoons.
It published on Friday an agreement reached with eight organisations from Australia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian territories representing 94,923 descendants of the Muslim prophet.
In the agreement Politiken said it regretted if it had insulted Muslims' faith, but that it did not regret publishing the drawings and that it did not renounce the right to publish the controversial drawings again.
The newspaper's editor-in-chief, Toeger Seindenfaden, said he was happy with the outcome.
"We deplore that Muslims were offended even if that was not our intention," he said.
Politiken's apology was widely condemned by Danish politicians, charging the paper had caved in to pressure and had sacrificed freedom of expression, which is considered a cornerstone of Danish democracy.
A number of other Danish newspapers also condemned the apology, but said they would not republish the cartoons.
Jyllands-Posten, which first published the 12 caricatures of Mohammed in September 2005, blasted Politiken's decision.
"It's a sad day for Danish media, it's sad for freedom of expression and it's sad for Politiken," Jyllands-Posten chief editor Joern Mikkelsen wrote.
The cartoons, including one featuring the prophet wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a lit fuse, angered many Muslims worldwide and sparked angry protests in January and February 2006.
The protests culminated with the torching of Danish diplomatic offices in Damascus and Beirut and the death of dozens of people in Nigeria.
In 2008, around 20 Danish newspapers, including Politiken, reproduced the drawings following a failed attack against one of the cartoonists, sparking further protests in a number of Muslim countries, including Sudan, Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia.
Friday's agreement emerged from an August 28 request made by a Saudi lawyer, Faisal Ahmed Zaki Yamani, to 11 Danish newspapers.
He had asked the newspapers to apologise, promise they would not republish the drawings, and remove the controversial cartoons from their websites.