Danish Web Videos on Muhammad Taken Down
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
COPENHAGEN, Oct. 9 -- Videos showing anti-immigrant party members mocking the prophet Muhammad were pulled from Web sites Monday as two youths seen in the clips were reported in hiding and the Foreign Ministry warned Danes against traveling in the Middle East.
Muslim clerics from Egypt and Indonesia condemned the video broadcast in Denmark last week showing members of the Danish People's Party youth wing with cartoons of a camel wearing the head of Muhammad and beer cans for humps. A second drawing placed a turbaned, bearded man next to a plus sign and a bomb, all equaling a mushroom cloud.
In a move aimed at defusing tension, the Danish Foreign Ministry invited ambassadors from Muslim countries to discuss the video Monday. It was unclear how many diplomats took part in the meeting or which countries they represented.
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen condemned the youths in the video Sunday, saying that "their tasteless behavior does in no way represent the way the Danish people or young Danish people view Muslims or Islam."
Citing critical media reports from many Muslim regions, the Foreign Ministry cautioned against travel to the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.
The video was produced by an artists' group, Defending Denmark. In a message posted along with the video, the group said it had infiltrated the Danish People's Party Youth for 18 months "to document [their] extreme right-wing associations."
"This is not an example of something that is meant to provoke. This is an example to show how things are in Danish politics," artist Martin Rosengaard Knudsen told Danish public radio.
In Jordan on Monday, a powerful umbrella group for about 200,000 professionals including engineers, doctors and journalists called on Muslims to sever relations with Denmark, saying the video "reveals hatred toward the Prophet who came to the world with a message to enlighten the people."
Hard-line Muslims and leftists in these professional associations have repeatedly called on the government to abolish a 1994 peace treaty with Israel.
The episode comes in the aftermath of an outcry across the Muslim world over the September 2005 printing in a Danish newspaper of 12 cartoons portraying Muhammad. For most Muslims, any artistic rendition of Muhammad is taboo.