Indonesian Muslims Insulted by Danish Portrayal of Muhammad

Indonesian Muslim groups on Sunday said they felt insulted and disappointed by a video of Danes poking fun at Islam's Prophet Muhammad during a summer camp for members of a populist political party.

The video, about which stories were published by Danish media on Friday, shows members of the Danish People's Party Youth who had taken part in a drawing competition.

Amidhan, the chairman of the Indonesian Council of Clerics who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said Sunday the videos were "clearly insulting. We regret and strongly condemned the new Danish insults to Islam during the holy month of Ramadan."

Country Watch: Denmark

Muslims around the world are currently observing the Islamic fasting month when they may not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset.

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. Nearly all of dozens of people shown in the videos had their faces blurred, but the images they drew were clear.

In one, a woman displayed a drawing of a camel with Muhammad's head and beer bottles as humps while the group laughed.

The latest Danish drawings come in the aftermath of an international crisis and deadly Muslim protests over the printing a year ago of a dozen cartoons portraying Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.

The publishers of those cartoons had said they were defending their right to freedom of expression.

Indonesia, the world's fourth largest country, also has the single largest population of Muslims.

The new drawings were the source of protests by Muslims in Egypt on Saturday.

Amidhan said the latest Danish incident shows the intolerance of the Danish politicians and "the Danish government's inability to prevent its people from humiliating Islam."

Din Syamsuddin, chairman of Muhammadiyah, the second largest Muslim group in Indonesia, said members of his organization regretted the "repeated humiliation of Islam in their country."

"It was clear that they were intentionally provoking Muslims, they enjoy seeing Muslims angry ... we should express denouncement through peaceful way," he said.

Kenneth Kristensen, chairman of the Danish People's Party Youth, known for its anti-immigration stance, refused to apologize, but acknowledged the behavior was problematic.

Danish citizens were advised to leave Indonesia during near-daily protests after the newspaper cartoons were first published last year. The demonstrations were largely peaceful compared to those in Pakistan, Nigeria and countries in the Middle East, but a small number of hard-liners threw rock at the American and Danish embassies.

The Islamic Defenders Front, which supports the introduction of Islamic law, said Sunday it planned to protest despite Ramadan, when Muslims are called on to show restraint and tolerance.

"What the Danish youths have done is hurt Muslim, we should restrain ourselves during Ramadan, but we have to show them that we hurt, that we're angry," said Soleh Mahmud, a spokesman of the front.