Danish diplomats exit three countries

The Danish ambassadors to Iran, Syria and Indonesia and other diplomatic staff have left those countries due to threats against them over the publication of cartoons of the Muslim prophet.

Danish diplomats exit three countries

The ambassador in Tehran and his staff left after being informed of "concrete and serious threats against the ambassador", the Danish Foreign Ministry said in a communique on Saturday.

Finland's embassy in Iran has taken charge of Denmark's consular affairs until further notice.

In Jakarta, the ambassador and his aides left after receiving "credible and concrete threats against the security of embassy personnel" and the Dutch embassy will provide consular cover.

Lars Thuesen, spokesman for the ministry's crisis unit, said the ambassadors and their staff had gone to other countries which Denmark did not wish to identify.
  
The building housing the embassy in Damascus was burnt last week by an angry mob protesting against the Prophet Muhammad cartoons first published in a Danish newspaper.

Shell-shocked

The Foreign Ministry said it has been pulling out Danish staff since then, and the ambassador left on Friday.

"The de-escalation of the protection of the ambassador and his staff to an inadequate level is the reason for the departure," the ministry said in a statement.

It said the German Embassy in Damascus would handle Denmark's consular services for the time being.

Sweden, whose embassy is in the same building in the Syrian capital, said it did not have any immediate plans to withdraw staff, said Jan Janonius, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Stockholm.

Denmark temporarily closed its diplomatic mission in Lebanon earlier this week after similar protests there.

The small Scandinavian country is shell-shocked by the wave of anti-Danish protests, some of them violent, that have spread like wildfire across the Muslim world.

Danish paper Jyllands-Posten, which published the cartoons in September, apologised for offending Muslims but stood by its decision to print the drawings, citing the freedom of speech.

Islam forbids any illustrations of the prophet Muhammad for fear they could lead to idolatry.

Pakistan rallies

Meanwhile, Pakistan's ruling party and Islamic groups on Saturday issued a joint call to hold a nationwide strike on 3 March  to condemn the cartoons' publications.

The leaders of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League party and a six-party coalition of religious groups also urged people to boycott the products of those countries where the cartoons have been printed.

Under Pakistani laws, insulting the prophet or Islam's holy book, the Quran, can be punished with death.

The groups announced a schedule for rallies across the country, including one in Islamabad on 19 February, to pressurise countries to take action against newspapers that published several blasphemous caricatures.

Another rally will be held in the eastern city of Lahore on 26 February, the groups said in a statement, which didn't provide details about which businesses should close during the strike.

The plans were announced by Qazi Hussain Ahmad, head of a six-party alliance, after presiding over a meeting also attended by moderate political leaders.

"Western countries have started a campaign to malign our religious leaders, Islam and the holy prophet," Ahmad said in a statement.

Source: Aljazeera

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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