Cartoon rage escalates to kidnapping. “Protests Over Muhammad Cartoons Escalate,” from AP, with thanks to JE:
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Outrage over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad escalated in the Arab and Islamic world Thursday, with Palestinian gunmen briefly kidnapping a German citizen and protesters in Pakistan chanting “death to France” and “death to Denmark.”
Palestinian militants surrounded European Union headquarters in Gaza, and gunmen burst into several hotels and apartments in the West Bank in search of foreigners to take hostage.
The protests spread to Indonesia on Friday, with Islamic hardliners barging into a building housing the Danish Embassy and burning the European country’s flag. The Indonesian government had earlier condemned the drawings, as did Afghanistan.
In Iraq, Islamic leaders urged worshippers to stage demonstrations following weekly prayer services Friday. Iran summoned the Austrian ambassador, whose country holds the EU presidency.
The issue opened divisions among European Union governments. Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said EU leaders have a responsibility to “clearly condemn” insults to any religion. But French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said he preferred “an excess of caricature to an excess of censorship.”
Good for Sarkozy. Plassnik has, I’m sure, never spoken out against any attacks on Christianity in Europe. Of which there have been many.