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Bush And Abdullah On Cartoons

More protests have taken place over cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Mohammed. The cartoons, including one depicting the Prophet Mohammed with a bomb, were published in a Danish newspaper and subsequently reprinted in other publications, including three Arab newspapers.

Some of the protests have been violent. In Afghanistan, several people have died in clashes between protesters and security forces. Dozens of international observers were evacuated from the West Bank city of Hebron after hundreds of Palestinian youths attacked their offices, throwing stones, breaking windows, and damaging cars. Demonstrators in Beirut, Lebanon, set fire to the building housing the Danish mission.

Following a White House meeting with President George W. Bush, King Abdullah of Jordan condemned the cartoons and said that protests should be peaceful:

“Obviously, anything that vilifies the Prophet Mohammed – [peace be?] upon him - or attacks Muslim sensibilities, I believes needs to be condemned. But at the same time, those that want to protest should do it thoughtfully, articulately, express their views peacefully. When we see protests, when we see destruction, when we see violence, especially if it ends up taking the lives of innocent people, is completely unacceptable. Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is a religion of peace, tolerance, moderation.”

President Bush said he wanted to emphasize that the United States believes in tolerance and understanding:

“One of the great attributes of our country is that you're free to worship however you choose in the United States of America. Secondly, we believe in a free press. We also recognize that with freedom comes responsibilities. With freedom comes the responsibility to be thoughtful about others. Finally, I have made it clear to His Majesty and he made it clear to me that we reject violence as a way to express discontent with what may be printed in a free press.”

Mr. Bush said he was calling on governments around the world “to stop the violence, to be respectful, to protect property, [and] protect the lives of innocent diplomats who are serving their countries overseas.”

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.