Two German newspapers on Wednesday reproduced controversial drawings depicting the Prophet Muhammad, with one of them arguing that a "right to blasphemy" was anchored in democratic freedoms.
The drawings were among several published in a Danish paper in September that sparked outrage and boycotts in Islamic countries. The pictures were also shown in a Norwegian magazine last week.
Palestinians in Gaza burned Danish and Norwegian flags this week in protest of the caricatures.
The caricatures offended many Muslims both because of their critical content and because Islam forbids representations of Muhammad out of concern they could lead to idolatry. In some of the pictures, Muhammad was shown to be wearing women's attire.
But the German Welt daily put one of the drawings showing the prophet's turban transformed into a bomb on its front page on Wednesday. It said the picture was "harmless" and expressed regret that the Danish Jyllands-Posten daily had apologized for causing offense.
"Democracy is the institutionalized form of freedom of expression," the paper said in a front-page commentary. "There is no right to protection from satire in the West; there is a right to blasphemy."
The Berliner Zeitung daily also printed two of the caricatures as part of its coverage of the controversy.
In France, the France-Soir daily published the drawings on Wednesday, saying that religious dogma has no place in a secular society.