Babylon & Beyond

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MIDDLE EAST: Danish cartoon controversy continues to ripple

April 23, 2008 |  7:34 am

Danishcartoon The anger unleashed in the Muslim world by the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad more than two years ago is apparently far from simmering down.

In the latest of the drawings' consequences, the Danish government decided to close its embassies in Algeria and Afghanistan after threats of terrorist attacks against their premises in these two countries. According to a report in a Danish newspaper, the Danes have evacuated their staff from embassies in Kabul and Algiers to an unidentified "safe location," where they continue to work.

The newspaper said that the Danish intelligence linked the threats to the reprinting of the cartoons in February by international newspapers.

It added that the government will wait to see how "the situation unfolds in the upcoming period" before deciding when to reopen the embassies.

Back in early 2006, deadly riots broke out in many Muslim countries as a reaction to what was regarded as "blasphemous" representation of Islam's prophet in a cartoon contest sponsored by a right-wing Danish newspaper.

Raed Rafei in Beirut

Photo: Angry demonstrators set ablaze the Danish embassy in Damascus on Feb. 4, 2006, over cartoons of the prophet Mohammed that appeared in a Danish newspaper. Credit: LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images