Saudi retailers protest over Prophet cartoons on products
Retailers in Saudi Arabia have pulled Danish products off their shelves due to an improper depiction of the Prophet in cartoons printed on the packages.
As a result, the European Commission has raised the prospect of WTO action against Riyadh if the Government supports the boycott, a spokesman said on Monday.
"Mandelson explained that the Danish boycott would be a boycott of the European Union and the matter is very serious," commission spokesman Peter Power said.
"He made it clear that if the Saudi Government had encouraged the boycott, Commissioner Mandelson would regret having to take the matter to the WTO," he added.
Power declined to say whether Mandelson had been reassured by the Saudi response that it had not supported the boycott.
"I think we're looking for clarification on this issue," he said.
Power said that the commission was getting 'conflicting reports' about decisions by retailers to boycott Danish products.
Muslims in Denmark and around the world have protested against the 12 cartoons, published in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten last September, because images of the Prophet are considered blasphemous.
The cartoons include a portrayal of the Prophet wearing a time-bomb shaped turban and show him as a wild-eyed, knife-wielding bedouin flanked by two women shrouded in black.
The cartoons were reprinted in a Norwegian magazine earlier this month sparking uproar in the Muslim world.