Jordan editor held in cartoon row

A Jordanian newspaper editor sacked after publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad has been arrested.

Jihad Momani is accused of insulting religion under Jordan’s press and publications law.

The newspaper had fired him after he decided to reproduce the cartoons – originally printed in Denmark – which have caused a global storm of protest.

Some of the cartoons depict Muhammad as a terrorist. Any images of the Prophet are banned under Islamic tradition.

‘Abuse of freedom’

Mr Momani’s arrest came a day after Jordanian King Abdullah condemned the cartoons as an unnecessary abuse of freedom of speech.

Mr Momani’s paper, Shihan, had printed three of the cartoons, alongside an editorial questioning whether the angry reaction to them in the Muslim world was justified.

“Muslims of the world be reasonable,” wrote Mr Momani.

“What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony in Amman?”


In a public letter of apology after his sacking, Mr Momani said he did not mean to cause offence, Reuters news agency reported.

Arab Printers Company, the publisher, also withdrew copies of the popular tabloid from news stands across the country and promised tough moves against those involved.

The drawings have sparked protests in countries including Indonesia, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.

A number of European newspapers have printed the cartoons, but the Jordanian paper was believed to be the first in a Muslim country to do so.

Sources say an inquiry is also under way into another Jordanian publication which also subsequently printed some of the images.

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Feb. 4, 2006

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This post was last updated: Friday, May 9, 2014 at 1:49 PM, Central European Time (CET)