Polish editor apologises for reprinting cartoons
The editor of a Polish newspaper that reprinted images of the Prophet Muhammad defended it as an act of solidarity.india Updated: Feb 07, 2006 08:31 IST
The editor of a Polish newspaper that reprinted images of the Prophet Muhammad said on Tuesday that he was sorry if the publication gave offence to Muslims, but defended it as an act of solidarity.
The Rzeczpospolita daily on Saturday reproduced two caricatures that originally appeared in a Danish newspaper, along with a commentary defending media freedom by editor Grzegorz Gauden.
The move was sharply condemned by Poland's government, which argued that it was offensive to Muslims and to all advocates of religious tolerance.
On the paper's Web site Monday, Gauden published a statement saying the cartoons were "not intended to hurt religious feelings".
"It was our intention to defend free media from blackmail and the violence of extreme factions of Islam," Gauden said. "This was a gesture of solidarity. It was not our intention to hurt anybody's religious feelings. We apologize to those who felt hurt."
The Muslim Religious Union in Poland criticised Rzeczpospolita onTuesday for reprinting the images and said it was considering whether to file a formal complaint with prosecutors.
Also today, Defense Minister Radek Sikorski said the government knew beforehand about Rzeczpospolita's plans to run the cartoons and warned Polish troops serving in Iraq "in order to secure the safety" of forces amid fears they could be targeted.
Poland, a US ally in Iraq, has troops in an area south of Baghdad, where they train Iraqi military and police.