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Muslim Leaders Urge Calm; End of Cartoon Riots

Muslim leaders from the UN the EU and a prominent pan-Islamic body are urging Muslims all over the world to stay calm in the wake of worldwide outrage sparked by the publishing of the blasphemy cartoons ridiculing Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Muslim Leaders Urge Calm; End of Cartoon Riots

Several Islamic organizations called for ending the deadly rioting across the Muslim world over drawings of the holy Prophet. "Islam says it's all right to demonstrate but not to resort to violence. This must stop," said senior cleric Mohamed Osman, a member of the Ulama Council — Afghanistan's top Islamic organization.

"We condemn the cartoons but this does not justify violence. These rioters are defaming the name of Islam."

On the other hand, the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and his counterparts called the drawings offensive, but expressed concern over the fierce riots that broke out all over the world in protest against the blasphemous cartoons.

Other members at Ulama Council appealed for calm through radio and television on Wednesday. "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.

Also the Union of Islamic Organisations in France stated Wednesday its resentment to the offending cartoons, saying that "one cannot insult a religion".

"To defend the dignity of one's religion does not mean one is radical," Fouad Alaoui said.

Yesterday, prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Youssuf Al Qaradawi condemned attacking Danish and Norwegian embassies in Arab states by angry rioters.

Qaradawi, who is based in Qatar called on the Islamic wolrd to express its anger in a possitive manner. "We call on Muslims to show their fury in a logical and controlled manner," Qaradawi said.

"We didn't ask people to burn embassies as some have done in Damascus and Beirut. We don't sanction destruction and torching because this is not in line with morality or Muslim behaviour," he said.

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