“We protest against the rising wave of xenophobia towards Muslims across Europe and the gratuitously offensive caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which have been reprinted in many newspapers around the world.”, the Muslim Council of Britain stated.
Several leading British Muslim organizations already announced their participation at the jointly organized protest. The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK's representative Muslim umbrella body with over 400 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.
“This rally will aim to help British Muslims to express their feelings peacefully and will call upon the newspapers concerned to recognise and apologise for the enormous offence and needless distress they have caused to millions of Muslims across the world. We believe that the editors of these papers have shown huge insensitivity and an indefensible lack of judgement in this matter,” said Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.
According to Bob Garfield, from the American Onthemedia research project, “the cartoons were first published in the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten in September, and one depicts the prophet with a bomb-shaped turban. Muslims were shocked to see the images. It is against tradition to depict the prophet in any way. Throughout the Muslim world, there have been boycotts of Danish goods and demands for more apologies from the Danish Prime Minister. This week, papers throughout Western Europe reprinted the highly controversial images. Arms have been raised and death threats issued.”
Susan Caskie, from WNYC Radio, a public radio station in new York city, says: “It started last September when a Danish children's author, Kare Bluitgen, was complaining in Danish papers that he had been writing a children's book about the life of the Prophet Mohammed and he couldn't find any illustrators. It's forbidden in Islam to depict Mohammed, even in a favorable manner. So, Jyllands-Posten issued a kind of a challenge to cartoonists in Denmark, and they got 12 cartoons, some of which were very inoffensive; others, like you mentioned the one with the turban as a bomb, more offensive.”