Cartoon Jihad in New Zealand
Hundreds of angry Muslims in Auckland: Cartoon rage spreads to New Zealand.
New Zealand became the latest nation unwillingly drawn in at the weekend, after two newspapers ran the cartoons in a move likely to cost the country its $NZ100 million ($A92 million) sheep trade with Iran. …
Tim Pankhurst, editor of Wellington’s Dominion Post — owned by John Fairfax, which also owns The Age — said the paper published the cartoons as an issue of solidarity and press freedom, and he was not setting out to antagonise Muslims.
The New Zealand Government condemned the newspapers, but that did not stop Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday ordering the cancellation of economic contracts with countries where the media have carried the “repulsive” cartoons.
New Zealand diplomats in Muslim countries have been warned to take precautions against possible threats to staff and property.
NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday described the cartoons’ publication as “gratuitous”.
“New Zealand press is free and politicians don’t say what the press can print and what it can’t. It is a question of judgement and I don’t think myself either the publication, nor the reaction to it, do anything to bring communities and faiths together here or around the world.”
More than 700 angry Muslims marched through Auckland yesterday, many wearing black arm bands. Pakistan Association of New Zealand president Naveed Hamid said his group had organised the march because Muslims wanted to make their hurt felt to the public. “Something the media has to understand (is that) somebody’s religion is not for insult,” he said.