First Published: 2006-02-03

Call for Jihad over prophet cartoon row goes online

Muslim extremists rally faithful on Internet to Jihad against countries where Mohammed’s cartoons are published.


Middle East Online

By Habib Trabelsi - PARIS

Muslim extremists are using the furore over the Prophet Mohammed cartoons published in European newspapers to rally the faithful to a jihad (holy war), in several Internet postings.

"Brothers, it's war against Islam ..., grab your swords," says hardline Saudi cleric Sheikh Badr bin Nader al-Mashari in a voice recording posted on an Islamist website.

He said the cartoons - first published by a Danish newspaper in September with several other European papers following suit over the past week - are "part of the war waged by the decadent West against the triumphant Islam".

"To the billion Muslims: where are your arms? Your enemies have trampled on the prophet. Rise up," screamed the sheikh, who is the imam of a mosque in Riyadh, amid the cries of the faithful listening to his speech.

Muslim bloggers even launched a website,, exhorting the faithful to boycott Danish products.

Danish dairy products have already been banned from supermarkets in most Arab countries in the wake of the crisis.

But many bloggers said trade sanctions will lead nowhere, calling for a more militant response.

"Boycotts and messages of indignation instead of bombs and explosives," lamented female blogger Ashiqat al-Jihad (lover of the holy war) in one posting.

Another blogger singled out France, where the left-leaning paper Liberation reprinted two of the controversial cartoons.

The influential Le Monde also splashed a cartoon of the prophet on its front page Thursday, a day after France Soir reproduced all of the original cartoons that appeared in the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten citing its right to free expression.

"Our prophet was insulted again by France. The boycott will accomplish nothing. We need bombs and explosives," said another blogger under the pseudonym Abu Badr.

A blogger using the name Ubda called on Islamic militants in Iraq, Palestine and Chechnya not to spare any Danes and Norwegians they come across.

"Slit their throats in the style of (Abu Musab) al-Zarqawi," he said referring to Iraq's most wanted militant and leader of Al-Qaeda in the war-torn country.

London-based Arab newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi published Thursday a statement attributed to an Al-Qaeda linked group, the Brigades of Abu Hafs al-Masri, warning Denmark and all those who insult the prophet with a "bloody war".

"The infidels must know that the coming days will see a bloody war and a series of blessed conquests," said the statement.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Friday after meeting with foreign diplomats including the ambassadors of 11 Muslim countries that his government could not apologise for the cartoons on behalf of a newspaper given Copenhagen's strong tradition of free speech.

"A Danish government can never apologise on behalf of a free and independent newspaper," he said.

Many influential clerics and government officials across the Arab world have demanded a clear and unequivocal apology from the Copenhagen government as well as Danish newspaper.

In an interview broadcast on Saudi-owned satellite television Al-Arabiya on Thursday, Rasmussen said he was "deeply distressed" over the row caused by the cartoons and called for calm when asked whether he was concerned about terrorist attacks against Denmark.

"I have a strong appeal to all groups that we do our utmost to cool down tempers and feelings," he said.


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