Cleric Declares $1mil Bounty On Cartoonist
- From: "Avner Gold" <avner_gold@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 17 Feb 2006 09:52:37 -0800
Includes a nice quote from Clinton (no doubt stopping over in Munich)
on how "most people in the West deeply respect Islam".
Cleric: $1 Million to Kill Cartoonist By RIAZ KHAN, Associated Press
1 hour, 47 minutes ago
PESHAWAR, Pakistan - A Pakistani cleric announced Friday a $1 million
bounty for killing a cartoonist who drew Prophet Muhammad, as thousands
joined street protests and Denmark temporarily closed its embassy and
advised its citizens to leave the country.
Police confined the former leader of an Islamic militant group to his
home to prevent him from addressing supporters over the cartoons, amid
fears he could incite violence, after riots this week killed five
Security forces were out in strength, particularly around government
offices and Western businesses, as Muslims streamed onto the streets
after Friday prayers. More than 200 people were detained, but most
gatherings were peaceful.
In neighboring India, police used batons and tear gas to disperse
thousands of angry worshippers who rioted in the southern city of
Hyderabad. They burned Danish flags, pelted police with stones, and
looted shops. Hundreds more protested in Bangladesh.
In the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar, prayer leader Mohammed
Yousaf Qureshi announced the bounty for killing a cartoonist to about
1,000 people outside the Mohabat Khan mosque.
Qureshi said the mosque and his religious school would give $25,000 and
a car, while a local jewelers' association would give another $1
million. No representative of the association was available to confirm
it had made the offer.
"This is a unanimous decision by all imams (prayer leaders) of Islam
that whoever insults the prophet deserves to be killed and whoever will
take this insulting man to his end, will get this prize," Qureshi said.
Qureshi did not name any cartoonist in his announcement. He did not
appear aware that 12 different people had drawn the pictures.
A Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, first printed the prophet pictures
by 12 cartoonists in September. The newspaper has since apologized to
Muslims for the cartoons, one of them showing Muhammad wearing a
bomb-shaped turban with an ignited fuse. Other Western newspapers,
mostly in Europe, have reprinted the pictures, asserting their news
value and the right to freedom of expression.
In Islamabad, former U.S. President Bill Clinton criticized the
cartoons but said Muslims wasted an opportunity to build better ties
with the West by holding violent protests.
"I can tell you, most people in the United States deeply respect Islam
.... and most people in Europe do," he said on a visit to sign an
HIV- AIDS project by his foundation.
Denmark announced it had temporarily closed its embassy in Pakistan. It
also advised against all travel to Pakistan and urged Danes still in
the country to leave.
"We have decided to do so because of the general security situation in
the country," Foreign Ministry spokesman Lars Thuesen said.
Denmark has already temporarily closed its embassies in Lebanon,
Syria, Iran and Indonesia after anti-Danish protests and threats
Pakistan, meanwhile, recalled its ambassador to Denmark for
"consultations" about the cartoons, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim
Unrest over the cartoons has spiraled in Pakistan, even as it has ebbed
in the rest of Asia and in the Middle East. Big riots in Lahore and
Peshawar this week caused millions of dollars in damage, as hundreds of
vehicles were burned and protesters targeted numerous U.S. and other
foreign-brand businesses, including KFC, McDonald's, Citibank, Holiday
Inn and Norwegian cell phone company Telenor.
Intelligence officials have said scores of members of radical and
militant Islamic groups, such as Jamaat al-Dawat, joined the unruly
protests in Lahore on Tuesday and had incited violence in a bid to
undermine President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's government.
On Friday, police confined Jamaat al-Dawat's leader, Hafiz Mohammed
Saeed, to his home in Lahore to stop him from addressing supporters in
the city of Faisalabad, about 75 miles away, his spokesman Yahya
Saeed used to lead Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, a militant group closely
associated with Jamaat al-Dawat and banned by Musharraf four years ago.
A senior police official in Lahore who confirmed Saeed's detention said
the government had ordered police to restrict the movement of all
religious leaders who might address rallies and to round up religious
activists "who could be any threat to law and order."
The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn't authorized to
discuss the matter with media because of its sensitivity.
Police used tear gas and batons in isolated incidents at Friday's
protests, but generally they were free of violence. About 7,000
protested in Rawalpindi, 5,000 in the southwestern city of Quetta and
5,000 in Karachi.
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