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danish flag burns 298.(Photo by: AP [file])
Muhammad cartoon lawsuit dismissed
Islamic group: Western courts "should listen to Muslim scholars."
A top Pakistani Islamic group criticized Thursday's dismissal by a Danish court of a defamation lawsuit against a newspaper that published cartoons of Prophet Muhammad that sparked mass protests across the Muslim world this year. "This was expected because the values and culture of the West are different from Muslim countries," said Ameer ul-Azeem, spokesman for Jamaat-e-Islami, which belongs to an Islamic alliance that organized mass protests across Pakistan last year. Western courts "should listen to what Muslim scholars think," ul-Azeem said. "If they think these cartoons insult their religion and the prophet, the courts should respect these views. It is not up to the court to decide if Muslims will have hard feelings or not." The City Court in Aarhus said it could not be ruled out that some Muslims had been offended by the 12 drawings printed in Jyllands-Posten, but said there was no reason to assume that the cartoons were meant to "belittle Muslims." The newspaper published the cartoons on Sept. 30, 2005, with an accompanying text saying it was challenging perceived self-censorship among artists afraid to offend Islam. The caricatures were reprinted in other European newspapers in January and February, fueling a fury of protests in the Islamic world. Some turned violent, with protesters killed in Libya and Afghanistan and several European embassies attacked. Islamic practice forbids any depiction of the prophet, even positive ones, to prevent idolatry. Ul-Azeem said it was unlikely that mass protests would erupt over the decision because the Muslim anger over the cartoons is already well known. "Muslim countries have already registered their anger," he said.
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