Copenhagen, February 27, 2010 – A Danish newspaper
has apologized for any offence caused when it reprinted a cartoon
depicting the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb-shaped turban in 2008.
Politiken said it was apologizing as part of a settlement with Muslim
groups in the Middle East and Australia.
Other Danish newspapers criticized Politiken for its move.
Twelve cartoons of Muhammad were initially published in 2006, sparking
widespread protests by Muslims in various countries.
Politiken - and other papers - republished one in 2008 when police
uncovered an alleged plot to kill cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
Editor-in-chief Toeger Seidenfaden said on Friday: "We apologize to
anyone who was offended by our decision to reprint the cartoon drawing."
He told the Associated Press (AP) news agency that the paper still had
the right to publish.
"We have the right to print Kurt Westergaard's drawings, we have the
right to print the original 12 drawings, we have the right to print all
the caricatures in the world," he said.
"We apologize for the offence which the reprint has caused. That is what
we apologize for."
The editor-in-chief of Jyllands-Posten, the paper which originally
published the cartoons, was highly critical of Politiken.
Joern Mikkelse said: "Politiken's pathetic prostrating before a Saudi
lawyer takes the first prize in stupidity."
In 2006 Jyllands-Posten apologized for the offence caused by the
drawings, but other European media reprinted them.
Danish embassies were then attacked by Muslims around the world and
dozens killed in riots.
On Friday, the Danish Union of Journalists described Politiken as
"kneeling before opponents of the freedom of press."
Mr Westergaard expressed disappointment: "I fear this is a setback for
the freedom of speech," AP reported him as saying.
He went into hiding after publication amid threats to his life, but
emerged in 2009 saying he wanted to live as normal a life as possible.
His house has been heavily fortified and is under close police
protection, but on 1 January 2010 a Somali man was charged with trying
to kill him.
The suspect, was shot by police outside Mr. Westergaard's home in the
city of Aarhus after he allegedly broke into the house armed with an axe
and a knife.
Police say the suspect, who denies the charge, has links with Somali