A Danish newspaper apologised today to eight Muslim organisations for the offence it caused by reprinting controversial cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, in exchange for their dropping legal action against the newspaper.
Politiken reached a settlement with the groups, which represent 94,923 of Muhammad's descendants, in which it agreed to print an apology for the affront the cartoons caused. The newspaper has not given up its right to publish the cartoons and has not apologised for having printed them as part of its news coverage.
In a joint statement, the two sides said they wanted to "express their satisfaction with this amicable understanding and settlement, and express the hope that it may in some degree contribute to defusing the present tense situation".
The decision to issue an apology for the offence caused has been met, however, by widespread condemnation from the Danish media and political parties.
The editor of Jyllands-Posten, which originally printed the cartoons in 2005 and is published by the same media company as Politiken, said that its sister paper had failed in the fight for freedom of speech and called it a "sad day" for the Danish press.
Kurt Westergaard, one of the cartoonists, who earlier this year was the subject of an attempted attack at his home, said the newspaper had betrayed its duty to freedom of speech. "In Denmark we play by a set of rules, which we don't deviate from, and that's freedom of speech,"... >>>
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