The decision by some European newspapers to reprint cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad has caused widespread condemnation and protests.
Anger grew after several papers re-ran the cartoons
As the row intensifies, governments and world leaders have been giving their reaction. Here is a selection of comments from political leaders around the world.
HOSNI MUBARAK, Egyptian President
Freedom of opinion, expression and of the press, which we guarantee and respect, cannot be used as an excuse to insult sanctities, beliefs and religions.
HAMID KARZAI, Afghan President
Any insult to the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, is an insult to more than one billion Muslims and an act like this must never be allowed to be repeated.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, Danish Prime Minister
We are talking about an issue with fundamental significance to how democracies work. One can safely say it is now an even bigger issue.
AHMED QUREIA, Outgoing Palestinian Prime Minister
We hope that the concerned governments are attentive to the sensitivity of this issue. We warn that emotions may flare in this very sensitive issue.
Prince NAYEF, Saudi Interior Minister
We hope that religious centres like the Vatican will clarify their opinion in this respect.
PHILIPPE DOUSTE-BLAZY, French Foreign Minister
The principle of freedom should be exercised in a spirit of tolerance, respect of beliefs, respect of religions, which is the very basis of secularism of our country.
YURI THAMRIN, Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman
Freedom of expression cannot justify indignity towards a religion.
FRANCO FRATTINI, EU Justice Commissioner
It should be crystal clear to all that violence, intimidation, and the calls for boycotts or for restraints on the freedom of the press are completely unacceptable.
I can understand the feelings of indignation, frustration and sadness of the Muslim communities over the last few days. Such events do not facilitate dialogue between faiths and cultures.