- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 11, 2006

COPENHAGEN — Denmark said yesterday it had withdrawn diplomats and staff from Indonesia and Iran because of security threats, while Muslims held demonstrations in European cities and elsewhere over cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

Denmark — where the drawings were first published in September — warned Danes to leave Indonesia, saying they faced a “significant and imminent danger” from an extremist group.

Yemen announced that three chief editors of privately owned Yemeni papers will stand trial for printing the Danish cartoons and their publishing licenses suspended. Information Ministry officials said the editors were charged with offending the prophet of Islam.

Earlier this month, two Jordanian editors were put on trial for reprinting the Danish cartoons of Muhammad.

Muslims in several European and Asian countries, meanwhile, kept up their protests, with thousands taking to the streets in London’s biggest demonstration over the issue so far.

Up to 4,000 demonstrators converged on Trafalgar Square, joining the British capital’s Mayor Ken Livingstone in a protest against the publication of the cartoons.

In marked contrast to angry demonstrations outside the Danish Embassy in London last week, the protest was good-natured and there was no sign of the extreme anti-Western placards brandished at the embassy protest. No British newspapers have reprinted the cartoons.

French police estimated that more than 7,000 people took part in a march through central Paris, waving banners and chanting, but the atmosphere was peaceful and many families took part.

France’s Muslim Council had urged the country’s Muslims to stay calm. The council had tried in vain to block the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo from reprinting the cartoons last week.

The drawings — including one that depicts Muhammad with a turban shaped like a bomb with a burning fuse — were recently reprinted in other European publications that said it was an issue of freedom of speech.

Islam widely holds that representations of the prophet are banned for fear they could lead to idolatry.

In Indonesia, about 400 protesters from the radical Hizbut Tahrir group held a noisy but peaceful rally at a Jakarta intersection, demanding that Denmark apologize for what they said was an insult to Islam.

They unfurled anti-Western banners that read “Western infidels never can stop insulting” and “Regret is not enough to pay for the insult to the prophet.”

Israeli police said 150 to 200 Palestinians protested in Jerusalem’s Old City. A spokesman said they tried to burn Danish flags and threw stones at police before being dispersed.

In Pakistan, the world’s second-largest Muslim nation, Islamist parties called for a nationwide strike on March 3 to protest the publication of the cartoons.

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