OIC warns conflict over cartoon


Riyadh : The Organization of the Islamic Conference on Friday denounced the reprinting of a blasphemous Danish cartoon, warning it could lead to confrontations between Muslims and Christians.

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“By reprinting these cartoons we are heading toward a bigger conflict and that shows that both sides will be hostages of their radicals,” OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said in a statement.

“It is not a way of improving your rights and exercising your freedoms when you use these rights for insulting the most sacred values and symbols of others and inciting hatred,” he said.

“This is a very wrong, provocative way – unacceptable.” Several Danish newspapers on Wednesday republished one of 12 drawings, which had already caused bloody riots in the Muslim world in 2006, after police uncovered an alleged plot in the Scandinavian country to kill the cartoonist.

“The people who are doing this put themselves with the radicals, the fanatics and extremists who are using their beliefs as justification to hurt others,” Ihsanoglu said.

“This is not the way to improve relations between East and West, between Islam and Christianity.”

The drawing has triggered fresh uproar in Muslim countries.

Thousands of supporters of the Hamas government protested in the Gaza Strip on Friday against the reprinting of the caricature.

The Hamas government which controls the coastal Palestinian territory, demanded that the Danish cartoonist be brought to trial and that an official apology be made to Muslims. It urged an end to organized campaigns to spread hatred of Islam.

“We are all a sacrifice to the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him), our blood, our property and our families are all a sacrifice to him,” a Hamas activist shouted through a loudspeaker after Friday prayers in the Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

“We urge Arab and Muslim countries to exert their efforts and to use all pressure tools under their control to stop these organized campaigns that spread hatred of Islam under so-called freedom of expression,” a Hamas statement said.