New cartoon scandal hits Denmark

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Denmark has become embroiled in a new cartoon scandal after a television channel aired a video showing youth groups ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad.

The country was at the centre of violent protests last years that escalated across the world after Danish daily Jyllands-Posten published cartoons of the prophet.

The protests led to the deaths of more than 50 people in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

World Muslim organizations called the latest incident evidence of “shrinking tolerance in the west”, the Guardian newspaper has reported.

In this new scandal, a Danish television channel broadcast portions of a video originally posted on the internet showing a group of youths affiliated to the anti-immigrant Danish Peoples’ party (DPP) presenting cartoons of the prophet.

Seen drinking alcohol two members of the group show cartoons to the camera. One shows a camel with the head of the prophet and beer cans as humps, while the other shows a man with a beard next to a plus sign and a bomb followed by and equals sign and a nuclear mushroom cloud.

Danish television channels DR TV and TV2 both broadcast sections of the video.

In a message posted alongside the video those involved defended their actions saying it was “something that [was] meant to provoke”.

But the Danish prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen called their actions “childish”, adding “their tasteless behaviour does in no way represent the way the Danish people or young Danish people view Muslims or Islam”.

He also warned Danish nationals to avoid traveling to the Middle East after one group in Gaza made threats against Danes in Palestine.

Across the Muslim world there was widespread condemnation against the video.

The 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference said in a statement: “Muslims have noted with concern that the values of tolerance are eroding and there is now shrinking space for others’ religious, social and cultural values in the west.”

In Iran, the president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad commented: “If someone enjoys an iota of humanity and wisdom then he will not insult and offend the shining holy presence of Muhammad,” according to some reports.

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