JEDDAH/COPENHAGEN, 10 October 2006 — The 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference yesterday denounced a video lampooning the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) produced by a far-right Danish party and partly screened by public television.
“The OIC spokesman deplores the act of caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad... by the youth members of the Danish People’s Party and the same being shown regrettably on the state television,” a statement from the bloc’s secretariat said.
“The running of the footage affected the sensibilities of civilized people and the religious beliefs of one fifth of humanity.
“The OIC has always favored upholding freedom of expression. Simultaneously it is the ethical, moral and political responsibility of public opinion leaders, governments, state and civil society institutions in the West to discourage acts of intolerance by condemning them.” Denmark’s TV2 channel last month broadcast excerpts from a video made by members of the extreme-right Danish People’s Party showing the Prophet Muhammad as a beer-drinking camel and a drunken terrorist attacking Copenhagen.
The images were shown on TV2, with a youth playing the part of the Prophet visible only from the back, as well as a drawing.
It showed young adherents of the Danish People’s Party mocking the Prophet during a summer party, with some portraying the Prophet Muhammad dressed in a turban and wearing a belt with explosives as others look on in laughter.
The video triggered the anger of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which called for a boycott of products from countries that “permit these sort of acts,” for peaceful protests and for international legislation banning such “attacks.” Similar angry reactions were voiced in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
Iran yesterday summoned the Danish ambassador to strongly condemn the video, the ISNA news agency reported.
Iran “strongly condemns, denounces and regrets the repeat of insults to the great Prophet of Islam and the sanctities of more than one-and-a-half-billion Muslims on the anniversary of the publication of the offensive cartoons,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.
“The world of Islam expects the Danish government to prevent the occurrence of such insults which hurts the feelings of the world’s Muslims,” it added.
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also vehemently condemned the video in comments quoted by news agencies late Sunday. “The leaders of some nations jail scholars who deny the holocaust, (but) on the other hand they keep silent toward those who insult the great prophet of Islam on the pretext of freedom,” said Ahmadinejad, who has previously called the holocaust a “myth.”
“They should know that if the ocean of human nature erupts, its repercussions will be uncontrollable,” he added.
Meanwhile, the video mocking the Prophet Muhammad has been removed from the Internet, a Danish artists group said yesterday.
At the same time, the Danish Foreign Ministry warned its citizens about traveling to several Muslim countries because of the controversy surrounding the video.
“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. The clip was removed from its website yesterday.
In a message posted online, the group, called Defending Denmark, said it infiltrated the Danish People’s Party Youth for 18 months “to document (their) extreme right-wing associations.”
“Generally speaking, there is a harsh note, a racist note. Not from all but from leading members,” Rosengaard Knudsen told Danish radio. He could not immediately be reached for comment.
Yesterday, the Foreign Ministry in Copenhagen cautioned against travel to Gaza, the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.
In the past two days, “several Arabic media have published critical reports about the airing of video,” the Ministry said.
“Against that background, we urge Danes to use caution as the matter could possibly lead to negative reactions. The atmosphere and reactions can vary dependent on time and place. Danes should be aware of the local mood,” the ministry said.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen condemned the youth wing, saying “their tasteless behavior does in no way represent the way the Danish people or young Danish people view Muslims or Islam.”
The episode come in the aftermath of the outcry in Muslim countries over the printing in September 2005 of 12 cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Four months later, they were reprinted in a range of Western media, triggering massive worldwide protests.