London, Feb. 27 (ANI): A Danish newspaper, which apologised for carrying a cartoon showing the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb-shaped turban, has been slammed for betraying the freedom of the press by the country's prime minister and media.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen expressed surprise at leading Danish daily Politiken's move, saying he was worried that the Danish media was no longer "standing shoulder to shoulder" on the issue.
Politiken had printed the cartoon as a gesture of solidarity after three people were arrested for attempting to kill the cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard.
However, it attracted the wrath of its opponents after issuing an apology and settling up with a Saudi lawyer who is representing eight Muslim groups that complained after the cartoon was reprinted by eleven Danish newspapers.
Politiken said that it was apologising for the offence caused and not for the decision to publish, in an attempt to reduce tensions with the Muslim world.
Westergaard and Jyllands-Posten, which first printed the cartoon, have expressed outrage at Politiken's move.
"Politiken's pathetic prostrating before a Saudi lawyer takes the first prize in stupidity. It is a sad day for Danish media, it is sad for freedom of expression and it is sad for Politiken," The Times quoted Jørn Mikkelsen, the editor-in-chief of Jyllands-Posten, as saying.
Westergaard, 74, who has round-the-clock security, added: "I fear this is a setback for the freedom of speech."
The Danish cartoon controversy began in September 2005 when Jyllands-Posten published 12 depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.
After a tour by imams based in Denmark in 2006 there were riots and attacks on Danish embassies and businesses that left about 100 people dead. (ANI)