COPENHAGEN – A Saudi lawyer has demanded a public apology from a number of Danish dailies that reprinted a controversial cartoon of Prophet Mohammed in February 2008, Danish media reported on Sunday.
The lawyer, identified as Faisal A.Z. Yamani from Jeddah, sent an email to the newspapers that republished the drawing first printed in 2005 and demanded that they print an apology by the end of September, Danish news agency Ritzau reported.
"It should be a clear, public and unconditional apology for the offence and harm caused by their newspaper," Yamani wrote, demanding that the statement appear in the first three pages of the newspaper and in four languages, Danish, French, English and Arabic.
The caricature features Prophet Mohammed’s head with a turban designed to look like a bomb with a lit fuse.
It was one of 12 cartoons first published in a Danish newspaper in 2005 and which sparked violent protests across the Muslim world in early 2006.
It was reprinted in mid-February 2008 by some 17 newspapers after Danish police foiled an alleged plot to kill the cartoonist, again triggering angry reactions in numerous Muslim countries.
Yamani suggested in the email that Danish interests in the Middle East could suffer if an apology was not forthcoming.
Danish products have been boycotted in some Middle Eastern countries in recent years because of the dispute.
The Danish newspapers’ association, Danske Dagblades Forening, said it would consult the foreign and justice ministry next week, and contact Danish newspapers to see how many had received the email.
The head of the association, Ebbe Dal, told Ritzau the demands were "unacceptable".
Following the publication of the cartoons, the Danish government repeatedly refused to heed calls from the Muslim world for an apology citing freedom of expression.