The Danish editor at the centre of the prophet caricature furore has been sent on indefinite leave after a disagreement with management about whether their newspaper should also print cartoons of the Holocaust.
Flemming Rose, the culture editor of Jyllands-Posten who commissioned the original 12 cartoons last year, has defended the decision of his and other European newspapers to publish as a valid exercise to test the growing tendency for self-censorship when handling Islamic subject matter.
But earlier this week he said he would also be open to reprinting cartoons depicting the Holocaust commissioned by an Iranian newspaper. That prompted a public disagreement with editor-in-chief Carsten Juste, who has also come under pressure to resign over the row. “The editorial management and Flemming Rose have agreed that he needed a break from work until further notice,” said Tage Clausen, a spokesman for the Jyllands-Posten paper.
Jyllands-Posten has apologised for offending Muslims but has insisted it was right to print the cartoons because of the importance of freedom of speech. Muslims incensed by the images have insisted that Denmark properly apologises to defuse the row. Yesterday, the deputy prime minister, Bendt Bendtsen, said he understood Muslim anger but condemned the violent protests that have broken out in Muslim countries.
The EU has tried to draw the sting of the protesters by calling for a voluntary code of conduct for the media that would avoid further inflaming religious sensibilities. The US has accused Iran and Syria of deliberately stoking up reactions.