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Insulting cartoons 'are unforgivable'

DEMONSTRATIONS will take place across Bahrain today calling for an official apology from Denmark over offensive cartoons published in a Danish newspaper.The Islamic Clergymen Council has urged people to take to the streets to condemn the cartoons, which depict the Prophet Mohammed and have inflamed the Arab world.

It has described the cartoons as a direct challenge to Islam and Muslims.

Parliamentary blocs Al Asala and Al Menbar have also called on people to stage demonstrations to send out a message to the world that anything which harms the reputation of the Prophet is "unforgivable".

The demonstrations are expected to take place in several areas of Bahrain after Friday prayers at around 1.30pm.

They are being planned in Muharraq, Dair, Manama, Ghufool, Sanabis, Duraz, Isa Town, Karzakan, A'ali, Sitra and Hamad Town.

Five of Bahrain's Islamic societies have also issued a statement saying the cartoons have destroyed the relationship between Denmark and the Islamic world.

They urged people to boycott the country's products until the Danish government apologises for the caricatures and promises that such acts will not be repeated.

The societies are the Islamic Enlightenment Society, the Islamic Resalah Society, the Capital Society for Islamic Culture, Sayed Al Shohada Charitable Society and Al Bayan Society.

A cartoonist at the Danish Jyllands-Posten daily newspaper received death threats after it published 12 caricatures depicting Prophet Mohammed last September, according to international news agency reports.

The images were reprinted in a Norwegian magazine Magazinet earlier this month, sparking uproar in the Muslim world.

Islamic Enlightenment Society president Shaikh Baqer Al Hawaj said that something sacred was being abused. "Prophet Mohammed is important to us," he said.

"He is the person who has changed our lives for the better and just thinking about touching his figure is unacceptable.

"Other religions, whether Judaism or Christianity, have always been respected by Islam. Muslims have never mocked these religions."

Shaikh Al Hawaj said it was time for Muslims to stick together and boycott Danish products to show Denmark that Muslims are unhappy and want to protect their religion.

"Demonstrations will also continue until we get an apology and until Denmark realises that this is not freedom of speech, but a direct attack on Islam - which remains strong whatever those with hatred in their hearts do," he said.

"We have heard rumours that Danes will be burning the Quran in Copenhagen Square.

"If it is true then it shows how weak the Danes are because those without power always use desperate tactics."

Meanwhile, Resalah Islamic Society president Sayed Jaffar Al Alawi hopes the Danish government would step in to prevent desecration of the Quran. "The Muslim world has been acting in a civilised manner - that's through boycott and demonstration," he said.

"We don't want things to escalate. The only thing we are asking for is an official apology.

"I can't completely blame the Danes because Muslim extremists, especially in Iraq, have been killing people from other religions in the name of Islam.

"But that is all a lie to legitimise something banned by the Quran, Islam and humanity.



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