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Germany

Turks in Germany Decry Firestorm Around Mohammed Cartoons

The leader of Germany's Turkish community has criticized Islamic extremists who have urged retaliation against Europeans after newspapers published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

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There will likely be no flag burning in Germany

"That is pointless," Kenan Kolat said of the threats of violence against Europeans in the Middle East amid the uproar over the caricatures, in an interview with the Internet newspaper Netzeitung.

He said that criticism of religion should be tolerated but he also asked the media to take into account the sensitivity of Muslims, who have reacted with indignation since the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten first published caricatures of their prophet in September.

"We need a proper discussion on how to treat sensitive issues in the media," Kolat said.

In the same article, a leading deputy from the opposition Greens urged Muslims to recognize and defend freedom of expression in Germany.

Urteil des Bundesverfassungsgerichts zur Homoehe

Volker Beck, right

"Muslims should be able to endure satire in the same way that Christians and Jews do," Volker Beck said.

Nadeem Elyas, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, on Friday appealed to Muslims not to resort to violence. "I call on Muslims to retain their balanced approach," Elyas said. At the same time, Elyas criticized the drawings as being both a provocation and a debasement.

Ignited outrage

The cartoons -- which include one depicting Mohammed with a bomb-shaped turban on his head -- have been reprinted by a dozen publications across Europe.

It has provoked a firestorm in the Muslim world, as Islam forbids any likeness of Mohammed. Extremist Islamic groups such at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have threatened retaliation against citizens from the countries in which the cartoons appeared.

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