Muhammad cartoons furor kills 15 in Nigeria as Saudi papers print newspaper apology

[JURIST] A Saturday protest by Nigerian Muslims in the northeastern city of Maiduguru over the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad [JURIST news archive] led to sectarian violence in which at least 15 people were killed, 15 Christian churches were burned, and dozens arrested before rioters were stopped by police. The death toll was the highest in any cartoons-related demonstration in the past three weeks. AP has more. In Jakarta, Indonesia, more than 200 members of the militant Islamic Defenders Front [MIPT backgrounder] protested [AP report] outside the US embassy [official website], banged on the gate and threw rocks, eggs, and tomatoes at the building. In a statement to Reuters, US Ambassador B. Lynn Pascoe [official profile] called the protest a staged media event and added that the US shared Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's belief "that the cartoon issue should not be used as a wedge between cultures." In Pakistan, Danish Ambassador Bent Wigotski closed the Danish embassy there and returned to Copenhagen. A statement by the Danish Foreign Ministry [official website, English], said "... it is practically impossible for him to do his job under the current circumstances." Pakistan has been rocked by a series of protests and arrests [JURIST news archive] related to the cartoons in recent days. AP has more.

Meanwhile, three Saudi newspapers - Asharq al-Awsat [official website, English], al-Riyadh, and al-Jazira - Sunday published advertisements by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten [website on the controversy, English], where the offending cartoons were first printed in September. The ads included an apology from the editor reading in part, "Allow me in the name of Jyllands-Posten to apologize for what happened and declare my strong condemnation of any step that attacks specific religions, ethnic groups and peoples. I hope that with this I have removed the misunderstanding." AP has more.

 

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