BBC News: Prophet cartoon row in Indonesia

BBC News: Prophet cartoon row in Indonesia

By Lucy Williamson, BBC News, Jakarta, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The Indonesian government says it has called on a blogging website to take down two cartoons which depict Muslim Prophet Muhammad in sexual situations.

The communications minister said the drawings were “very inappropriate”, and said if necessary he would ask internet service providers to block the site.

The cartoons, which appeared on the website last month, have provoked fierce debate among viewers.

Many Muslims believe it is forbidden to depict Muhammad in any form.

The two cartoons, which are several pages long, each tell a sexually explicit story involving the Prophet, interspersed with verses apparently lifted from the Koran.

Indonesia’s communications minister described the cartoons as “very unethical and very inappropriate”.

He said the ministry was asking the website to remove them. And if necessary, he said, it would ask internet service providers to block access to the website itself.

A ministry spokesman said the cartoons were offensive, not just to Muslims, but to all religions.

There were protests in Indonesia two years ago when cartoons depicting Muhammad appeared in a Danish newspaper.

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