Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Editor threatened for publishing cartoons

South African Mail and Guardian editor Ferial Haffajee has received threats after her paper reprinted one of the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that had angered Muslim groups internationally. Haffajee says she has received abusive letters and text messages. On Friday, South African Muslim activists won an interdict barring the Sunday Times from printing the cartoons. On the same day the Mail and Guardian published one of the cartoons on its international news page to illustrate a story about last week's protests. Haffajee told BBC News that some groups had threatened to march on the newspaper's offices in Johannesburg. She says she feels she is being targeted personally because she is herself a Muslim.
Meanwhile at least five people have been killed in Afghanistan as protests against the European cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad swept across the country. Two people died when protesters turned on the United States airbase at Bagram - although the US has had no involvement with the images, which originated in a Danish newspaper. In Somalia, a teenage boy died after protesters attacked police. Iran announced it was halting trade with Denmark, as protesters pelted the Danish embassy with petrol bombs. Police fired tear gas in a bid to keep back hundreds of angry demonstrators.
A protest march against the cartoons is to be held in Cape Town on Thursday. The Muslim Judicial Council, who is organising the protest, says it hopes the march will be more peaceful than those held elsewhere.

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