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10.02.2006 General News

Muslims in Ghana protest caricaturing of Prophet Mohammed


Accra, Feb. 10, GNA - The Coalition of Muslim Organisation, Ghana, (COMOG), on Friday said any attempt to justify the cartoon that insulted Prophet Mohammed as the right to press freedom could only place such people on a collision course with the over 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide with dire implications for world peace.

The coalition gave the caution in a protest note it presented to the Danish Government through Mr Flemming Bjork Pedersen, the Danish Ambassador to Ghana in Accra.

Major Alhaji Mohammed Easah (rtd), President of COMOG, led an 11-member delegation, including two women, to present the note to the Ambassador in a very serene and civil atmosphere. However, there was a conspicuous presence of Police, who wielded tear gas dispensers.

Maj. Easah noted that Muslims the world over held allegiance to the Almighty Allah and His Holy Prophet Mohammed. "To that extent every Muslim is always prepared to defend, preserve and protect the sanctity of the name of the Almighty Allah and his Prophet against any form of blasphemy, mockery or ridicule even on pain of death."

He, therefore, urged the Danish Government to caution purveyors of provocative satirical depictions of the Holy Prophet of Islam against the irresponsible use of their press freedom to incite the rest of the world against Muslims.

"If in their exercise of press freedom, they can throw caution to the air and jump with both feet then they will ultimately be held responsible for the dire consequences.

"If we Muslims cannot elicit the support of such media practitioners in our difficult quest for a better and peaceful world then we have the natural right, at least, to ask them to leave us, our religion and our Holy Prophet alone."

Maj. Easah warned that European journalists should not think they could arrogantly ride roughshod over the inalienable rights of Muslims to live in peace.

He said never again should any newspaper or media organisation in Denmark be allowed to hide behind press freedom to abuse, satirise, mock or ridicule the Holy Prophet of Islam.

Earlier in the week COMOG cautioned all Ghanaian Muslims to avoid violent demonstrations as a result of the unfortunate publication, which sought to depict the Holy Prophet as a terrorist.

Mr Pedersen told the COMOG Leadership that even though his Government believed in press freedom, it condemned any expression, action or indication that attempted to demonise groups of people on the basis of their religion or ethnic background.

He re-echoed the apologies of the Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and that of the culprit newspaper, JYLLANDS-POSTEN saying that it was not the latter's intention to be offensive