The case escalated into a major diplomatic crisis, even though, apart from the Danish press, it has been hardly been reported upon in the international mainstream media. There were violent protest demonstrations and strikes against the cartoons in the Indian state of Kashmir and in Pakistan, after which Denmark warned its citizens not to travel to Pakistan. Egypt cut off its talks on human rights with Denmark while the Egyptian Grand-Imam Muhammad Said Tantawy condemned the Danish government. Tantawy is the religious leader of Egypt, appointed by the Egyptian president, and chancellor of the prestigious al-Azhar University, one of the Sunni Muslims’ most important centers of learning. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticised his Danish colleague during bilateral talks last month (and other consequences).(...)
Instead of supporting their government, 22 prominent Danish former career diplomats criticised Prime Minister Rasmussen this week. (...)
Their criticism, however, did not impress Rasmussen. The letter by the former ambassadors was “very misguided and sad,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman Troels Lund Poulsen said yesterday. “They are willing to compromise freedom of expression by taking a moral stand."(...)
Meanwhile, Carsten Juste, Jyllands-Posten’s editor, has welcomed efforts to end the cartoon controversy. Moderate Muslim groups in Denmark proposed to stop demanding apologies from JP and organise a “celebration” to show the moderate side of Islam. Juste welcomed the idea. “I consider it a chance at reconciliation,” he said. “While it’s important to protect freedom of speech, there is also a need among Danes to gain more knowledge of Islam and Mohammed.”
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