Calling for calm, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has criticised editors who continue to publish satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, despite mass protests from Muslims.
He said: “As I have indicated in the past, freedom of speech is not a licence, it does entail exercising responsibility and judgement and quite honestly, I don’t understand why any editor would publish cartoons at this time which inflames and pours oil on the fire.”
Earlier the US had accused Iran and Syria of fanning the flames of Muslim anger but Kofi Annan said there was no proof of that.
In France, Muslim community leaders and representatives of the country’s media met in a conference aimed at promoting dialogue over the furore.
The publication of the caricatures, one of which shows the Prophet warning that he is running out of virgins for would-be suicide bombers, led to violent protests which claimed at least 11 lives.
In Portugal, some 20 people met in front of the Danish embassy to sign a letter in support of the publication of the cartoons.