23rd Nov 2017

Global diplomacy to curb Muslim cartoon protests

In a historical move, leaders of three major international organisations have deplored the violent protests following the publication of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper.

The joint statement from the UN, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the EU also urged governments to guard embassies and foreigners from attacks.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"We are deeply alarmed at the repercussions of the publication in Denmark several months ago of insulting caricatures of the prophet Mohammed and their subsequent republication by some other European newspapers and at the violent acts that have occurred in reaction to them," said the statement.

The text was endorsed by UN secretary general Kofi Annan, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu of the OIC and Javier Solana of the EU.

"We fully uphold the right of free speech. But we understand the deep hurt and widespread indignation felt in the muslim world. We believe freedom of the press entails responsibility and discretion, and should respect the beliefs and tenets of all religions," they said.

The EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana is now considering travelling on a peace mission to a number of muslim countries to mediate in the conflict, according to Danish daily Berlingske Tidende.

While the US president George W. Bush on Tuesday (7 February) lent his full support to the Danish government, his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, urged the Danish government to apologise.

Speaking on a visit to Spain Mr Putin said "One must think twice before printing, making, or drawing something."

"If a country is not in a position to prevent it, it must at least apologise for not being able to do so," the Russian president said and expressed the hope that muslim religious figures and muslim leaders will manage to take control of the situation.

The European Parliament president Josep Borrel issued a statement together with members of ten Mediterranean parliaments, including the Syrian, Jordanian and Lebanese houses.

The joint statement from The Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly Bureau (EMPA) called for "responsible use of the freedom of the press and of expression" and condemned "any disrespect for religions as well as any attempt to incite religious hatred, xenophobic or racial remarks."

The use of violence against European diplomatic representations was strongly condemned in the statement.

EMPA brings together MEPs and their counterparts from ten countries around the Mediterranean (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey) as part of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.

Call for editor's resignation

Meanwhile Danish daily Jyllands-Posten has come under growing domestic pressure with the country’s former foreign minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen calling for the resignation of the editor in chief.

The conflict started when Jyllands-Posten in September printed 12 cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed in order to test the limits of European freedom of expression.

"When an editor in chief admits he has made a failure of judgment and says he would not have done what he did, had he known the consequences, then he ought to resign," Mr Ellemann writes in a comment printed in Berlingske Tidende (8 February).

Mr Ellemann described the cartoons as an adolescent tantrum and said the Danish government cannot be held responsible.

But just as all diplomatic efforts are being focused on dampening down the conflict, French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo has added fresh fuel to the fire.

In today's edition it reprints all 12 controversial cartoons plus a new one – on the front page - depicting a crying prophet burying his face in his hands and saying "it’s too hard to be loved by fools."


EU 'cannot afford' lengthy German deadlock

Angela Merkel's failure to form a coalition government has raised concerns in Europe that the EU's most powerful country will send the block into paralysis.

MEPs put 'Article 7' against Poland on launch pad

MEPs urged Poland to comply with the EU treaties and to halt the 'reform' of the judiciary that could further undermine the rule of law in the country. Polish PM Beata Szydlo called the vote 'outrageous'.


EU 'cannot afford' lengthy German deadlock

Angela Merkel's failure to form a coalition government has raised concerns in Europe that the EU's most powerful country will send the block into paralysis.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  4. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  5. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  6. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  7. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  10. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  11. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  12. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!

Latest News

  1. Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP
  2. Eastern partners, eastern problems
  3. Germany's Schulz under pressure to enter coalition talks
  4. LuxLeaks trial re-opens debate on whistleblowers' protection
  5. Wilders says Russia is 'no enemy' ahead of Moscow visit
  6. EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit
  7. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya
  8. Orban stokes up his voters with anti-Soros 'consultation'