U.S. Muslims Demonstrate as Philly Paper Runs Muhammad Cartoon

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on a protest in front of its offices:

More than two dozen people, including children, assembled in front of the Inquirer building this morning to protest the reprinting of a Danish cartoon that has sparked angry denunciations and demonstrations across the Muslim world."

The group carried signs with such messages as "No to Hate," "Peaceful Protest for Religious Tolerance," and "Distasteful Journalism."

Amanda Bennett, editor of The Inquirer, spoke to the group.

"I went out to talk to them, and told them that neither I nor the newspaper meant any disrespect to their religion or their prophet. I invited them to write their views for publication in our newspaper. Several people, both women and men, suggested that this might be the occasion to start a better dialogue between the paper and the Muslim community in the greater Philadelphia area. I agreed, and asked the leaders to contact me so that we could get a meeting together between members of their community and the newspaper."

In the original article accompanying the cartoon, the Inquirer said:

This cartoon and others have inflamed many Muslims since they were first published as a group in a Danish newspaper last year and reprinted in Norway last month. Islam teaches that any portrayal of Muhammad is sacrilegious. Some Muslims accept respectful representations but object to the cartoons' portrayal of Muhammad as a terrorist or as a caricature of Muslims or Arabs.

The Inquirer intends no disrespect to the religious beliefs of any of its readers. But when a use of religious imagery that many find offensive becomes a major news story, we believe it is important for readers to be able to judge the content of the image for themselves, as with the 1987 photograph by Andres Serrano of a crucifix in urine. On that basis we reprint this cartoon.

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