Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen today welcomed a joint declaration by the Europe Union on the Prophet Mohammed cartoons, saying it was in line with his government’s view.
The foreign ministers from the 25-member bloc yesterday said the cartoons were “considered offensive” by Muslims around the world, but added that the freedom of expression “is a fundamental right and an essential element of a democratic discourse”.
The 12 caricatures were first published in a Danish newspaper in September, triggering protests from Muslims in Denmark and abroad.
“The EU statement is totally in line with what we have said all the way through,” Fogh Rasmussen said, adding Denmark was “incredibly satisfied” with the declaration in Brussels”.
He said freedom of speech also came with responsibilities, but stopped short of criticising the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that published the cartoons.
“We have clear legislation that sets the limits of the freedom of speech. It is not permitted to make racist or blasphemous statements,” Fogh Rasmussen said, adding it was up to the courts – not the government – to decide if laws had been broken.