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'Mohammed cartoon not racial agitation'

A cartoon on Prophet Mohammed, published in a local Swedish newspaper in August, do not constitute incitement to racial hatred.

world Updated: Sep 21, 2007 03:00 IST

A cartoon on Prophet Mohammed, published in a local Swedish newspaper in August, did not constitute incitement to racial hatred, Sweden's justice chancellor ruled on Thursday.

Three Swedish Muslim organisations had asked Justice Chancellor Goeran Lambertz -- the only official in Sweden entitled to indict in cases concerning freedom of the press -- to press charges of incitement to racial hatred against the newspaper Nerikes Allehanda and its editor-in-chief Ulf Johansson.

The paper published the cartoon to illustrate a leader on the importance on freedom of speech.

Lambertz noted that for the charge to stick, it needed to be proven that "contempt" was expressed.

"Neither the leader nor the sketch, which has a satirical tone, expresses contempt against any ethnic group," he said in a statement.

"While many practicing Muslims may perceive primarily the cartoon as offensive, neither the content of the article nor the cartoon can be considered as crossing the line of what is permissible within the freedom of the press," he said.