Stupid Bush urges end to cartoon violence?
By Sinclere Lee
WASHINGTON (BNW) Stupid Bush calling for a stop to the violence in the Middle East that are sparked by protests over publication of cartoon depictions the Islamic Prophet Mohammed is like the KKK calling for a stop to the Watts riots. Its stupid!
Stupid Bush has urged governments around the world to help end the deadly violence sparked by protests over publication of cartoons depicting the Islamic Prophet Mohammed.
The death toll from this week's violent demonstrations rose to at least 10 on Wednesday after Afghan police shot dead several protesters trying to storm a U.S. military base.
At least 700 people demonstrated peacefully in Baquba, Iraq, while in southern Afghanistan, five people died in violent riots over the cartoons.
Also Wednesday Denmark's prime minister, saying the Muslim world had "a false picture" of his country, defended it in amid the intensifying protests.
The cartoons have prompted boycotts of Danish goods throughout the Muslim world. In Dubai, travel agents said travelers were not booking flights to Denmark or Norway, where the cartoons were also published.
One of the cartoons showed Mohammed wearing a turban shaped as a bomb. Any depiction of the prophet is forbidden in Islam for fear it could lead to idolatry.
Bush, who met Jordan's King Abdullah II on Wednesday morning, urged leaders in affected nations to step in.
"I call upon the governments around the world to stop the violence, to be respectful, to protect property and protect the lives of innocent diplomats who are serving their countries overseas," Bush said, referring to the attacks on Danish and other European embassies in several capitals.
Bush said he and the king "reject violence as a way to express discontent with what may be printed in a free press."
King Abdullah said anything that "vilifies the prophet Mohammed ... or attacks Muslim sensibilities needs to be condemned," but those who choose to protest should do it "thoughtfully, articulately, express their views peacefully."
"When we see protests and destruction, when we see violence -- especially when it ends up taking the lives of innocent people -- it's completely unacceptable," he said. "Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is a religion of peace, tolerance, moderation."
The Iraqi demonstration, organized by radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr's office, demanded an apology to all Muslims from the Danish government.
But Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said his government had nothing to apologize for.
"I think everybody should realize that neither the Danish government nor the Danish people can be held responsible for what is published in a free and independent newspaper," he told CNN.
Anyone seeking redress should turn to the courts, he said. "We do have legislation which sets certain limitations on the freedom of expression." He cited "racist and blasphemous" expressions as among those not allowed.
"It's up to the courts to decide whether the law had been infringed; it's not up to the government."
The cartoons were originally published in September in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. But protests against the government itself have gained in intensity in recent days after the reprinting of the caricatures in other publications.
Denmark, Rasmussen said, is not getting a fair shake. "We are portrayed as a society which is intolerant and an enemy of Islam, and it's a false picture."
Such messages -- often spread via Web logs and on cell phone messages -- have been difficult to counter, he said.
"It's really a war taking place in cyberspace, and we're not used to it."
French President Jacques Chirac asked media Wednesday to avoid offending religious beliefs as a French newspaper reprinted caricatures of the prophet.
Chirac said during a Cabinet meeting that he condemned "obvious provocations" likely to kindle passions.
"Everything that can offend the convictions of others -- religious convictions in particular -- must be avoided," the French president said in remarks quoted by government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope.
The Afghan casualties took place in Qalat, the capital of the southern province of Zabul, and one of dead might be a police officer, eyewitnesses said. The provincial capital of Qalat is currently closed to all traffic.
Six hundred rioters tried to storm a police station and get into a U.S. base.
Zabul is in the heartland of the Afghan insurgency, where there has been a high level of support for the Taliban -- the militants that ruled Afghanistan and harbored the al Qaeda network before the regime ousted by a U.S.-led invasion after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in the United States.
There were demonstrations in the Afghan capital of Kabul as well, and the Grand Ulama Council, a top Muslim organization, has urged people to stop rioting.
Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, also urged an end to the violent protests and called for a balance between free expression and respect for religious and cultural differences.
"The press should decide in a responsible way what it publishes," he said. "Although states might not subscribe to the content of media publications, it is not up to governments to influence the content of the press.
"The nature of the content of these cartoons, however, cannot and does not legitimize violence."
Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten, said he did not believe there was "a direct linkage" between the publication of the cartoons in September and the eruption of protests this month.
"Only after a group of radical Danish imams traveled to the Middle East in December and January, deliberately lying about the situation ... trying to ignite public opinion against Denmark, did all these tragic events start to unfold," he said.
"I think it is a tragedy," he said. "And I do think these cartoons are not worth a single human life."
Meanwhile, a university professor in the United Arab Emirates lost her job because she distributed copies of the cartoons to her students.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahan, UAE minister of education and chancellor of Zayed University ordered Clauda Keepoz dismissed because "her behavior has nothing to do with the freedom of expression."
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