The Danish government has ruled out apologising over the cartoons which originally appeared in a Danish newspaper.
After meeting with Muslim envoys in Copenhagen to discuss the growing controversy, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said his government could not be held responsible.
“The Danish gouverment cannot apologize on behalf of a free and independent newspaper. That’s simply and completly impossible. Because our system works in a way in which the media is independent,” he said.
So far British newspapers have decided not to publish the cartoons, earning them praise from Foreign Minister Jack Straw. He said the British media has shown how to use power responsibly.
“There is freedom of speech, we will respect that but there is not obbligation to insult or to be gratuitously inflamatory. I believe that the republication of these cartoons has been unnecessary,” he said.
His French counterpart, Philippe Douste-Blazy, condemned the wave of protests as unacceptable, but he stopped short of criticising the French press.
“The burning of national flags is something I’m strongly opposed to, I condemn it but at the same time I condemn the fact that we can make politics out of religion,” he said.
A number of Muslim countries have commended French newspaper France Soir for sacking its managing editor for reprinting the cartoons and urged other papers to do the same.