Police in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka arrested a newspaper cartoonist for publication of a cartoon considered blasphemous by Islamic clerics in the Muslim country, officials said Wednesday.
The interim government was also considering banning the daily Prothom Alo (The First Ray) and put on trial the newspaper's cartoonist Arifur Rahman arrested overnight from his home in north Dhaka under emergency laws.
Charges of blaspheming Islam, the religious belief of the overwhelming majority in Bangladesh, were being framed, a judicial officer said.
The controversial cartoon was printed on the inside pages of the daily known for its "anti-fundamentalist" stance.
Chief of the national mosque Maulana Obaidullah called on the government to arrest Rahman for conspiring to smear the image of Islam while demanding the trial of the publisher and editor of the accused newspaper.
"The blasphemous daily must be banned for humiliating Islam," said Mufti Fazlul Huq Amini, chief of the Islami Oikkyo Jote (Islamic Unity Alliance) which was a member of the outgoing ruling coalition.
Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2007, 12:34
Amini gave the authorities till Friday to close down the accused daily according to a statement in the media.
Another Islamic cleric Maulana Mohiuddin, who publishes a Monthly Mohammadi, also asked the government to hold the trial of the cartoonist according to Islamic laws.