President George W. Bush listens as King Abdullah of Jordan makes remarks Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006, during a photo opportunity in the Oval Office. The two leaders took the opportunity to urge an end to recent violence over caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.
ASSociated Press: U.N., E.U., Bush Call for End to Riots
President Bush called upon governments Wednesday to stop the violence and protect the lives of diplomats overseas.
“We reject violence as a way to express discontent with what may be printed in a free press,” Bush said after meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan, who asked demonstrators to “express their views peacefully.”
Outside of the United States more pleas for the end of violence:
“Islam says it’s all right to demonstrate but not to resort to violence. This must stop,” said senior cleric Mohammed Usman, a member of the Ulama Council â€” Afghanistan’s top Islamic organization. “We condemn the cartoons but this does not justify violence. These rioters are defaming the name of Islam.”
Other members of the council went on radio and television Wednesday to appeal for calm. It followed a statement released Tuesday by the United Nations, European Union and the world’s largest Islamic group urging an end to violence.
“Aggression against life and property can only damage the image of a peaceful Islam,” said the statement released by Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the EU chief Javier Solana.
In the meantime:
A Palestinian militant sets on fire a US flag during a demonstrations against the publication in various European newspapers of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. US President George W. Bush condemned the violent response to newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, but warned that the media have “the responsibility to be thoughtful”
Meanwhile, a U.S. military spokesman said the United States and other countries were examining whether extremist groups may be inciting protesters to riot around the world over the cartoons that have been printed in numerous European papers.
“The United States and other countries are providing assistance in any manner that they can … to see if this is something larger than just a small demonstration,” Col. James Yonts told reporters when asked whether al-Qaida and the Taliban may have been involved in the violent Afghan demonstrations.
The Afghan protests have involved armed men and have been directed at foreign and Afghan government targets â€” fueling suspicions there is more behind the unrest than religious sensitivities. But Yonts stressed they had no evidence to support suggestions of al-Qaida or Taliban links.
Instapundit has a post of links that explores this thesis of “more behind the scenes:”
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (free link) reports on How Muslim Clerics Stirred the Arab World Against Denmark. Excerpt:
Keen to “globalize” the crisis to pressure the Danish government, Mr. Abu-Laban and his colleagues decided to send delegations to the Middle East. They prepared a dossier to distribute during the travels. The document, which exceeded 30 pages, featured copies of the published cartoons and Arabic media reports about the controversy. It also contained a group of highly offensive pictures that had never been published by the newspaper, including a photograph of a man dressed as a pig, with the caption: “this is the real picture of Muhammad.”
Read the whole thing. Also, Hugh Hewitt had Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, and Joe Carter on his show last night, talking about the Cartoon Wars. Transcript and audio are here.
UPDATE: Austin Bay’s latest column is on the Cartoon Wars. And on his blog he observes: “The Danish ‘Cartoon War’ is an information warfare operation conducted by Islamist terror groups and at least two Middle Eastern dictatorships (Syria and Iran).”
MORE: Meryl Yourish notes a disturbing lack of context in media reports on the issue.
Muhammad Caricature Watch: Syrian Protesters Set Danish Embassy Ablaze Over Cartoon