Malaysia strikes: Action over cartoon urged

The question is will Swedish government oblige to Malaysia's demand? Considering Egypt, Iran and Pakistan had made formal complaints when the tasteless caricature was first printed in 2007...

MALAYSIA has urged the Swedish government to act against three newspapers that reprinted a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog, its foreign minister said.

'Malaysia strongly denounces the reprinting of the caricature of Prophet Muhammad by three Swedish newspapers on 10 March 2010,' Anifah Aman said in an unusually outspoken statement late Saturday.

He said his country was concerned that such 'despicable acts disregard the sensitivity of the Muslim world in the name of freedom of expression.' 'Such irresponsible acts are provocative and offensive in nature and hence it is totally unacceptable,' he added. 'Malaysia wishes to request the Swedish government to take measures against such publications to prevent the recurrence of such irresponsible acts in the future.'

The conservative Islamic party PAS said it would organise a demonstration after Friday prayers and submit a letter of protest to the Swedish embassy over the re-printing of the caricature.

The comments follow the reprinting of the caricature in Swedish papers last week following the arrest of seven people over an alleged plot to assassinate cartoonist Lars Vilks, who drew the caricature and who has a US$100,000 (S$139,340) bounty on his head from an Al-Qaeda-linked group.

The controversy started when a Swedish regional daily published Vilks' satirical cartoon in 2007, which prompted protests by Muslims in the country while Egypt, Iran and Pakistan made formal complaints. An Al-Qaeda front organisation had offered US$100,000 to anyone who murdered Vilks, with an extra 50,000 if his throat was slit.

From Straits Times, "Action over cartoon urged".


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