COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Videos showing anti-immigrant party members mocking the Prophet Muhammad were pulled from websites Monday as two youths seen in the clips were reported in hiding and the Foreign Ministry warned Danes against traveling to much of the Middle East.
Muslim clerics from Egypt and Indonesia condemned the video broadcast in Denmark last week showing members of the Danish People’s Party youth wing with cartoons of a camel wearing the head of Muhammad and beer cans for humps. A second drawing placed a turbaned, bearded man next to a plus sign and a bomb, all equaling a mushroom cloud.
In a move aimed at defusing tension, the Danish Foreign Ministry invited ambassadors from Muslim countries to discuss the video Monday. It was unclear how many diplomats took part in the meeting or which countries they represented.
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen condemned the youth in the video Sunday, saying “their tasteless behavior does in no way represent the way the Danish people or young Danish people view Muslims or Islam.”
Citing critical media reports from many Muslim regions, the Foreign Ministry cautioned against travel to Gaza, the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.
“Against that background, we urge Danes to use caution as the matter could possibly lead to negative reactions. The atmosphere and reactions can vary dependent on time and place. Danes should be aware of the local mood,” the ministry said.
The video was produced by an artists’ group, Defending Denmark. In a message posted along with the video, the group said it had infiltrated the Danish People’s Party Youth, known as DFU, for 18 months “to document [its] extreme right wing associations.”
“This is not an example of something that is meant to provoke. This is an example to show how things are in Danish politics,” artist Martin Rosengaard Knudsen told Danish public radio.
The clip was removed from that broadcaster’s website Monday, as well as from the Nyhedsavisen newspaper’s site. The purpose of the original publication was “not to insult Muslims or expose any members … to any danger,” said the paper’s editor, David Trads.
A party official reportedly said that two youths seen in the video clips had gone into hiding.
“They are very shaken by the huge reaction the drawings have had,” Kenneth Kristensen was quoted as saying on a newspaper website.
In Jordan on Monday, the Jordanian Associations, a powerful umbrella for some 200,000 professionals including engineers, doctors and journalists, said the video “reveals hatred toward the Prophet.”