Danish Populist Party Youths Regret Mocking Prophet Muhammad

Video showing young members of a populist political party mocking the Prophet Muhammad has surfaced on Web sites, prompting the head of the Danish party's youth wing to express regret Friday.

Country Watch: Denmark

But Kenneth Kristensen, chairman of the Danish People's Party Youth, known for its anti-immigration stance, refused to apologize for the actions of its members at a summer camp in August, although he acknowledged they were problematic.

"It is bad style because it overshadows our political line," Kristensen told The Associated Press.

He added that he believed it "is OK to poke fun at Muhammad, Jesus or Bill Clinton. We must not put limits on ourselves."

The story, first reported by the daily newspaper Nyhedsavisen on Friday, came in the aftermath of violent protests after 12 drawings of the Prophet Muhammad were published last year.

Video clips of a drawing contest among the young politicians, in their 20s and 30s, were posted on some Web sites after the annual Aug. 4-6 camp. In the videos, it seemed that they had been drinking.

Nearly all of the approximately 30 people shown in the videos had their faces blurred, but the images they drew were easy to see.

In one, a woman presents a drawing of a camel, adding that it has "the head of Muhammad" and beer bottles as humps. The group laughs as the woman, who was not identified, explained the drawing.

"I regret that they decided to organize the drawing contest. They must take responsibility for it," said Kristensen, who did not attend the camp.

Islamic law is interpreted to forbid any depiction of the prophet for fear it could lead to idolatry.

In September 2005, the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten printed the drawings of the Prophet Muhammed. Four months later, they were reprinted in a range of Western media, triggering protests from Morocco to Indonesia.

Some Islamic leaders called for the cartoonists to be killed. Throughout the crisis, the Danish government resisted calls to apologize for the cartoons and said it could not be held responsible for the actions of Denmark's independent media.

Zubair Butt Hussain, a spokesman for Danish group called Muslims in Dialogue, said his organization was not surprised by the recent video clips.

"The Danish People's Party has through its history made a virtue to make humiliating and generalized statements about minority groups, especially Muslims," Hussain said.

The moderate Muslim organization "believes that freedom of expression is every citizen's right but under responsibility both legally, ethically and morally," he said.

Kristensen blamed the group's leadership for organizing the contest and Martin Knudsen, a member of the youth branch who shot the video, for posting the clips.

"It could potentially have big consequences to have them on the Internet," he said.

The was no immediate comment from leaders of the Danish People's Party, Denmark's third-largest political party.