Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged Muslims on Friday to accept a Danish newspaper's apology for publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that caused offense and to not punish the entire nation of Denmark or all of Europe.
Annan said he was "distressed and concerned at the whole affair," which began with last September's publication of cartoons by the daily Jyllands-Posten. "And I would appeal to everybody not to take any measures that will inflame an already difficult situation."
"I share the distress of the Muslim friends who feel that the cartoon offends their religion," Annan told several reporters. "I also respect the right of freedom of speech. But of course freedom of speech is never absolute. It entails responsibility and judgment."