"A Danish defeat in an Islamic conference.. the boycott continues," reads the title of an editorial of mass-circulation Politiken, commenting on the recommendations and resolutions of the Manama-based International Conference for Defending Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), which wrapped up Thursday, March 23.
The paper said a Danish Muslim delegation grouping six imams failed to end the boycott. The paper, which translated the conference's final statement, ran excerpts from speeches delivered by leading imams Ahmad Akkari and Abdul Wahid Pedersen.
Addressing the two-day conference, Pedersen said that the economic boycott did not harm the offenders, but rather hurt innocent Danish who rallied behind the Muslim minority in the cartoons row. Politiken highlighted the delegation's calls for stepping up the pressure on Jyllands-Posten newspaper, which first published the odious cartoons in September, and on the Danish government to apologize for the publication of the 12 drawings.
Denmark's prime minister has said he regretted the hurt caused to Muslims but refuses to apologize on behalf of the paper. The editor of Jyllands-Posten has apologized for offending Muslims but defended the paper's right to publish the cartoons. The Bahrain conference has called on Muslims worldwide to carry on with their economic boycott of Danish products.
The boycott mostly hurts consumer goods companies in Denmark, which are the biggest exporters to the Middle East. The loss has been estimated at $1.5 million plus every day. Many companies had further to lay off workers.
Politiken also gave prominence to the stand taken by Denmark's leading dairy company Arla Foods, which issued a strongly-worded statement condemning the publication of the cartoons and appealing to the Middle East to end the boycott of its products.
It said the conference, in return, called for a dialogue between a nascent economic office, affiliated to the International Organization for Defending the Prophet, and Arla. The Danish firm, severely affected by the boycott, denounced on March 19 the prophet cartoon in full page advertisements taken out in papers across the Middle East.
"Keep the boycott" was the title of another piece published by the Berlingske Tidende newspaper. The paper further spotlighted the conference's condemnation of violent protests that erupted in the Muslim world. A third newspaper, Kristeligt Dagblad, ran an editorial titled "Keep boycotting Denmark and buy local products."
The Ekstra Bladet daily said the cartoons row would not have happened if the West had a good knowledge about Islam. The publication of the anti-Prophet cartoons have prompted Muslims in many countries to champion local campaigns to raise awareness of the merits of the Prophet in the West.
The Bahrain conference has announced the establishment of an international organization and a fund for defending prophet Muhammad. IslamOnline.net has launched the first stage of its new affiliate website on Prophet Muhammad.
'Muhammad: A Mercy for All' website is aimed at non-Muslims in the West, giving them untwisted information on Islam and the Prophet.