Anti-Muslim video sparks new outrage against Denmark

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The Independent Online

Danes have been warned against travelling to a number of Muslim countries after the release of a video showing young members of an anti-immigrant party mocking the Prophet Mohamed.

Images drawn by members of the youth wing of the Danish People's Party, and shown on television and the internet, were condemned by Islamic leaders in Egypt and Indonesia, threatening to reawaken the furore over cartoons published last year in Denmark.

The film was made by a group called Defending Denmark which said it infiltrated the youth wing of the far-right party for 18 months "to document [its] extreme right-wing associations". It showed the junior members of the party, who appeared to have been drinking, holding a drawing contest during their summer camp.

One woman presented a cartoon showing a camel with the head of Mohamed and beer cans for humps. A second drawing showed a bearded man wearing a turban next to a plus sign and a bomb, equalling a nuclear mushroom cloud.

Yesterday the video was removed from the internet but not before it had provoked a diplomatic incident.

The Danish Foreign Ministry in Copenhagen cautioned its citizens against travel to Gaza, the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.

In the past two days, "several Arabic media have published critical reports about the airing of the video from the Mohamed competition," it said.

"Against that background, we urge Danes to use caution as the matter could possibly lead to negative reactions. The atmosphere and reactions can vary dependent on time and place. Danes should be aware of the local mood," the ministry added.

Last September a Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten printed 12 cartoons portraying Mohamed, sparking a furious debate about freedom of speech. When the images were reprinted four months later in a range of newspapers, they triggered massive protests - some violent - from Morocco to Indonesia and a boycott of Danish goods.

In the latest row the Danish People's Party has come under fire for failing to expel those shown on the video. The party's leader, Pia Kjaersgaard, has defended the participants' right to freedom of speech.

While the DPP is not part of the coalition of Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the government has relied on its votes to get measures through the Danish parliament.

On Sunday, Mr Rasmussen condemned the DPP youth wing, saying "their tasteless behaviour in no way represents the way the Danish people or young Danish people view Muslims or Islam". In Tehran, Iran summoned Denmark's ambassador to complain about the broadcast. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference condemned the cartoons.