British Foreign Secretary Speaks Out Against Re-publication of "Insensitive" Cartoons

February 3, 2006

Source: Yahoo! News

On February 3, 2006 Yahoo! News reported, "[British] Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has launched a fierce attack on the decision by some media outlets to republish the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. The images first appeared in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, depicting Muhammad wearing a turban shaped like a bomb, and another showing him saying that paradise was running out of virgins. Media organisations - including the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV - as well as several European newspapers showed the controversial drawings, some with defiant headlines. British newspapers did not publish the images. The cartoons have caused outrage across the Muslim community as Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet to prevent idolatry... Mr Straw said: 'There is freedom of speech, we all respect that, but there is not any obligation to insult or to be gratuitously inflammatory. I believe that the republication of these cartoons has been unnecessary, it has been insensitive, it has been disrespectful and it has been wrong.' But Mr Straw praised the British media for showing 'considerable responsibility and sensitivity' in its approach to the issue. Mr Straw continued: 'There are taboos in every religion. We have to be very careful about showing the proper respect in this situation.' The BBC defended its use of the images and said it used them in its news output to provide context and explanation. 'We are reporting the controversy over the cartoons in our news output to give audiences an understanding of the strong feelings evoked by the story,' a spokesman said."