CAIRO: An Egyptian newspaper editor said on Friday his weekly had published some of the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed last year in an article condemning the caricatures which have sparked a furor in the Muslim world.
Adel Hammouda told Reuters he had published the cartoons in El-Fagr in October after he said he had seen them on an Islamist Web site. He said he had not taken them from the Danish newspaper where they first appeared in September.
The publication of the cartoons in the Danish and European press have led to attacks on Danish embassies and Muslim calls for a boycott of countries where the cartoons appeared.
Thousands of Egyptians protested in Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo and other cities on Friday against the publication of the cartoons in European newspapers, security sources said. Police used teargas in one city to disperse the crowd, they said.
We published them (the cartoons) firstly from a Saudi Web site … and only some of them, not all of them, in order to condemn this issue. We considered that (the cartoons) would increase the strife between the West and Islam, he said.
What reassured us further (to publish them) was that they were present on a Saudi Web site, Hammouda, a liberal journalist, said by telephone.
El-Fagr, an independent weekly which journalists say does not have a wide readership, carried the cartoons on Oct. 17 in an article that was critical of the images. It did not create a stir at the time.
A blogsite, egyptiansandmonkey.blogspot.com, brought the publication to prominence in recent days by showing images from the October edition.
According to images of the newspaper from the blogsite, the cartoons published by El-Fagr included one showing the founder of Islam with a bomb nestling in his turban and another showing him brandishing a knife.
Hammouda said that, unlike European newspapers, he had only published some cartoons and not the most vulgar ones.
Hammouda said his paper took the cartoons from the Islamist Web site www.alsaha.net and said two other Egyptian publications had also published the images. The images could not immediately be traced on the Islamist site. It was not immediately possible to confirm the publication in other Egyptian journals.
Protests against the cartoons have generally been muted in Egypt, the Arab world s most populous nation and home to Al-Azhar, one of the oldest and most revered seats of Islamic learning. Reuters