The Anglican church in Wales has issued an urgent recall of all copies of its Welsh-language magazine after a cartoon satirising the prophet Muhammad was printed in the latest issue, it was reported today.
It has apologised to Muslims following the reproduction of the cartoon and launched an investigation into how it came to be published.
The image in the magazine satirises Muhammad, depicting him sitting on a heavenly cloud with Buddha and Christian and Jewish deities. In an apparent reference to the cartoon controversy, he is told: “Don’t complain … we’ve all been caricatured here.”
The image, reprinted from the French magazine France Soir, was used to illustrate an article about the shared ancestry of Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
Sion Brynach, a spokesman for the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said the church was investigating how it had come to be reproduced in Y Llan, which means church.
“Despite the publication’s small circulation, we are concerned about the possibility of causing any offence to the Muslim community in Wales – with whom the Church in Wales has an excellent relationship – as a result of the reproduction of this cartoon,” she said.
Dr Morgan apologised to the Muslim Council of Wales and sent a letter to the magazine’s 400 subscribers asking them to return their copies.
Saleem Kidwai, the general secretary of the Muslim Council of Wales, said the archbishop had telephoned him to apologise when he discovered the cartoon had been published.
“The Archbishop has apologised and we have accepted that apology,” he said, adding that the Muslim Council of Wales enjoyed an “extremely” good relationship with other faith communities.
Last month, a Cardiff University student union newspaper was withdrawn after it printed a different cartoon satirising Muhammad.
In further fallout from the carton controversy, the Swedish foreign minister, Laila Freivalds, today resigned following a row over a far-right website displaying the Muhammad images.
The Swedish prime minister, Goran Persson, insisted it had been Ms Freivalds’ decision to step down after it was revealed this week that she had not given full information about her role in the closure of the site.
Mr Persson had for months resisted calls to sack Ms Freivalds over her response to the Asian tsunami, in which 500 Swedes died. The minister sparked public outcry when she went to the theatre on the day of the disaster.