Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Al-Azhar Imam Denounces Reprinting of Danish Cartoon, Calls for Muslims to Remain Calm | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Kuala Lumpur, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi has described the republishing of one of the drawings of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) by Danish Newspapers last Wednesday as “unwise behavior”.

Tantawi said that, “Such idiotic acts agitate the sentiments of over one billion and a half Muslims world-wide and we despise whoever does such acts”.

Speaking at the opening of the third World Multaqa (conference) of Al-Azhar University Alumni in Malaysia yesterday Tantawi warned fellow Muslims against overreacting in response to the republishing of the cartoon stressing the need to stick to “rationalism and calm in response to such offensive matters against Islam and its honorable Messenger”.

Several hundred Muslims gathered in central Copenhagen on Friday to protest the publication of the cartoon, shouting “God is great,” as they marched.

Thousands of supporters of the Islamist group Hamas protested in the Gaza Strip against the reprinting.

Five leading Danish daily newspapers and more than 10 smaller papers have reprinted Westergaard’s cartoon, which shows the Prophet Mohammad with a bomb in his turban. Most Muslims consider any depiction of the Prophet as offensive.

Imam Abdul Wahid Pedersen, a Danish convert to Islam, called for dialogue. “I will take my starting point in some verses from the Quran that call for calm and considered discussions and law-abidingness,” he told Danish state radio.

Dozens of Islamist students burned the Danish flag in southern Pakistan on Thursday, while in Kuwait, several parliamentarians called for a boycott of Danish goods.

Denmark’s foreign ministry on Thursday advised Danes to avoid unnecessary travel to Pakistan.

Three Danish embassies were attacked and at least 50 people were killed in rioting in 2006 in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Since then, several young Muslims have been convicted in Denmark of planning bomb attacks, partly in protest of the cartoons.