Danish Leader Condemns Muhammad Mocking

Denmark's prime minister on Sunday condemned members of an anti-immigrant party who appeared in Web videos mocking the Prophet Muhammad, prompting renewed protests from Muslim leaders around the worl
( [email protected] ) Oct 09, 2006 10:51 AM EDT

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - Denmark's prime minister on Sunday condemned members of an anti-immigrant party who appeared in Web videos mocking the Prophet Muhammad, prompting renewed protests from Muslim leaders around the world.

The videos, first reported by the Danish daily newspaper Nyhedsavisen on Friday, came in the aftermath of violent protests around the Muslim world after 12 drawings of the Prophet Muhammad were published last year by another Danish newspaper.

In the video clips posted online this past week, a group of young politicians was shown conducting a drawing contest during a camp meeting in August. One woman presented a drawing of a camel with the head of Muhammad and beer cans for humps as the group laughed.

In another clip, a man held up a drawing depicting a bearded man wearing a turban next to a plus sign and a bomb that equals a nuclear mushroom cloud. The politicians, in their 20s and 30s, appeared to have been drinking.

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen denounced the youth wing of the Danish People's Party in a statement, saying "their tasteless behavior does in no way represent the way the Danish people or young Danish people view Muslims or Islam."

The party, which advocates tighter anti-immigration controls in Denmark, is allied with the center-right coalition that Fogh Rasmussen presides over. The party holds no government positions.

Muslim leaders have criticized the videos as another insult to their religion.

Iranian Pesident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the video offended Muslims.

"If someone enjoys an iota of humanity and wisdom then he will not insult and offend the shining holy presence of Muhammad," according to national television.

Amidhan, the chairman of the Indonesian Council of Clerics who like many Indonesians goes by one name, condemned the images Sunday and said the incident shows the intolerance of the Danish politicians and "the Danish government's inability to prevent its people from humiliating Islam."

Din Syamsuddin, chairman of Muhammadiyah, the second-largest Muslim group in Indonesia, said his organization regretted the "repeated humiliation of Islam in their country."

"It was clear that they were intentionally provoking Muslims, they enjoy seeing Muslims angry," he said. He urged followers, however, not to react with violence.

The comments followed a statement on Saturday from Egypt's largest Islamic group, the Muslim Brotherhood, which said Muslims are "shocked by this new Danish insult."

Thus far, there have not been any violent protests in the Muslim world over the videos.

The protests over the prophet drawings, which broke out earlier this year when they were reprinted in European media, prompted angry mobs to attack Western embassies in Muslim countries, including Lebanon, Iran and Indonesia.

In Denmark, other political parties also condemned the behavior of the politicians. The youth organization of Fogh Rasmussen's Liberal Party called it "a perverted presentation of the Prophet Muhammad," and cut all contacts with the youth wing of the People's Party.

People's Party leader Pia Kjaersgaard claimed Sunday that the videos were filmed by a man who had infiltrated the youth branch for the past 18 months to uncover their platform. She said the images were the "kind of things that happen when you're drunk."

On Friday, the youth organization's chairman, Kenneth Kristensen, said he regretted that group members had mocked the prophet but said it was "OK to poke fun" at religious and political figures.

Associated Press writers Maggie Michael in Cairo, Egypt, and Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, contributed to this report.

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