JEDDAH: OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has strongly condemned the publication of a blasphemous’ cartoon insulting Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Ihsanoglu said the caricature in the local Swedish newspaper was intended to solely insult and arouse the sentiments of Muslims of the world in the name of freedom of expression. “The international community was well aware of the serious impact of such publications that were globally felt during the controversy that was created by the publication of similar cartoons by a Danish newspaper last year,” Ihsanoglu added.
Ihsanoglu also called on the Swedish government to take immediate punitive actions against the artist and the publishers of the cartoon and asked for their apology. He also called on Muslims to remain calm and to exercise restraint. The Nerikes Allehanda newspaper published the drawing last Friday after art galleries had declined to display it. The newspaper argued the publication was in the defense of free speech. Iran and Pakistan that are the members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) have announced their grievances against the caricature. Insulting cartoons of Prophet Mohammed in Danish newspaper, Jyllands Posten, led to a wave of protests across the world in September 2005 and Danish products were boycotted by many Islamic countries.-SANA