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Last Updated: Monday, 6 February 2006, 14:40 GMT
SA editor threatened over cartoon
Ferial Haffajee, editor of the Mail and Guardian
Ferial Haffajee feels she has been targeted because she is Muslim
A South African editor has received threats after her paper reprinted one of the cartoons that have angered Muslim groups internationally.

Ferial Haffajee, editor of the Mail and Guardian said she had received abusive letters and text messages.

On Friday, South African Muslim activists won an interdict barring another paper, the Sunday Times, from printing the cartoons.

Cartoons of the prophet Muhammad have sparked protests across the world.

CARTOON ROW
30 Sept 2005: Danish paper publishes cartoons
20 Oct: Muslim ambassadors complain to Danish PM
10 Jan 2006: Norwegian publication reprints cartoons
26 Jan: Saudi Arabia recalls its ambassador
30 Jan: Gunmen raid EU's Gaza office demanding apology
31 Jan: Danish paper apologises
1 Feb: Papers in France, Germany, Italy and Spain reprint cartoons
4 Feb: Syrians attack Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus
5 Feb: Protesters sack Danish embassy in Beirut
South Africa's constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression.

The Mail and Guardian published one of the cartoons on its international news page on Friday, to illustrate a story about last week's protests.

"People have been phoning my mother and exercising pressure through her," Ms Haffajee told the BBC News website.

She said some groups had threatened to march on the newspaper's offices in Johannesburg.

"It displays a lack of tolerance that is nerve-wracking," she said.

Ms Haffajee said she felt she was being targeted personally because she is herself a Muslim.

"There are people out there who feel it is their duty to remind me that there is a hereafter and I will be punished."

Interdict

After the Mail and Guardian reprinted the cartoon, the Muslim organisation Jamiat-ul Ulama won a court interdict stopping the Sunday Times from doing the same.

"We are aware of the sensitivities regarding the cartoons, and the editorial team was discussing whether these sensitivities should be given more weight than the right of non-Muslim readers to see the depictions that had caused huge offence in other parts of the world," a statement published by the Sunday Times said.

"We declined to give an undertaking not to publish the cartoons, not because we were intent on publishing them, but because we strongly oppose the attempt by any group to edit or censor the newspaper," the statement said.

"We regard this as a serious blow to the freedom of the press and have every intention of challenging the ruling when the matter returns to court," the statement concluded.

Protests against the cartoons in Muslim countries have targeted embassies of Denmark and Norway, which were the first countries to print the cartoons, which some Muslims see as blaspheming the prophet Muhammad.


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