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Danish imam says aim was peace in cartoon row

The controversial Danish imam accused of stirring uproar in the Muslim world over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed has defended his actions.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2006 08:33 IST

The controversial Danish imam accused of stirring uproar in the Muslim world over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed has defended his actions, saying they were aimed at forging peace, not causing bloodshed.

"History will give us credit because of our efforts to keep Europe away from any further violence," said Ahmed Abu Laban, the leader of the Islamic Community in Denmark, in an interview.

Abu Laban, who is accused of instigating a mass campaign against Denmark in the Arab-Muslim world which sparked deadly riots that killed more than 50 people, said the protests were not the start of a clash of civilizations.

"Some people would presume it is the beginning of a clash of civilization, but we call it the engagement of civilizations," said Abu Laban.

He spoke while attending the "International Conference for the Defense of the Prophet" organized by Muslim religious leaders and being held Wednesday and Thursday in Bahrain.

Abu Laban brought the cartoon matter to Cairo's Al-Azhar University, the top Islamic scholarly institution, shortly after caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed were published in a Danish newspaper in September 2005.

First Published: Mar 24, 2006 08:33 IST