german chancellor angela merkel has defended danish cartoonist kurt westergaard, whose cartoons of the prophet muhammad caused anger in 2006.
a depiction of muhammad's turban as a fused bomb sparked global outrage when it was published in denmark.
presenting him with a press freedom award, mrs merkel said mr westergaard was entitled to draw his caricatures.
"europeis a place where a cartoonist is allowed to draw something like this," she said.
"we are talking here about the freedom of opinion and the freedom of the press," ms merkel said at the ceremony in the german city of potsdam.
the offending cartoon - which led to a groundswell of muslim anger in many countries around the world - was one of 12 first published by danish newspaper jyllands-posten in 2005.
"it's about whether in a western society with its values he [mr westergaard] is allowed to publish his muhammad cartoons, or not. is he allowed to do it? yes he is," ms merkel said.
she described europeas a place that respects and values the freedom of belief and religion.
dozens of people died in violence that broke out in early 2006, months after jyllands-posten published the cartoons showing muhammad in a variety of humorous or satirical situations. muslims regard the depiction of the prophet as blasphemy.
the m100 media prize committee praised kurt westergaard for what it said was his "courage" to defend democratic values despite threats of violence and death.
germany's central muslim council (zmd) criticised ms merkel for attending the award ceremony.
they started this time again…
the site’s point of view
there is no strength except in allah,,,
where is the couragein insulting prophet muhammad peace be upon him???
where is the couragein mocking a religion followed by 1.5 billion people? isn’t there another one rather than this rascal to get a courage prize?
to the german chancellor angela merkel
we can’t see in this award but the fact of insulting the muslims’ beliefs.
this kind of making the muslims angry by insulting their prophet and religion is in fact the flame that you start, to make hatred spread between people…
in addition to that, you honoured the one who insulted all the muslim’s feeling…
stop this act of spreading hatred among people…
the german government must know that we won’t let this action just pass…we are going to boycott all german goods in the islamic world, till you withdraw this award and apologize for it.
dear muslims, lovers of almighty allah and his prophet muhammad peace be upon him, now they started again insulting our beloved prophet….this time it is not a person or a newspaper, it is a formal award from the highest authority in the german government to the one who insulted our prophet….