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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
Cartoon row author rewrites Koran
The cartoons prompted anti-Danish protests around the world
The author whose book on the life of the Prophet Muhammad sparked the Danish cartoons furore is now working on a new version of the Koran.

The controversial cartoons were published last September by the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten.

They followed a complaint by author Kare Bluitgen that he had not found anyone willing to illustrate a children's book on the life of the Prophet Muhammad.

The images accompanied an editorial criticising artists' self-censorship.

Bluitgen told the Kristeligt Dagbladet newspaper that he was working on a "readable version" of the Koran, which he described as "heavy going" for ordinary people. He stressed that there would be no illustrations in his new work, which he expects to finish early next year.

"I cannot imagine that this will be quite as controversial", Bluitgen told the newspaper. "A few fanatical extremists may be angry, but that is up to them", he said.

I cannot imagine that this will be quite as controversial
Kare Bluitgen

An expert on Islam from Copenhagen University told the newspaper that in theological terms there is nothing to prevent a non-Muslim from interpreting the Koran. He said protests like those triggered by the Muhammad cartoons could therefore not be expected.

Controversial Danish Imam Ahmed Akkari said the Koran should be read in Arabic and that any translation of it therefore loses meaning. However, he said he would wait until he had seen Bluitgen's treatment of it before passing judgment.

Mr Akkari is being investigated over an apparent death threat against a Danish Muslim MP made in a French TV documentary.

Meanwhile, 27 Danish Muslim organisations have issued a writ against Jyllands-Posten for publishing the cartoons, claiming that they depicted Muhammad as warlike and criminal and that they linked the Prophet to war and terrorism. They are demanding 100,000 kroner ($16,000; 9,300) in compensation.

These developments come as a cartoon-related boycott of Danish-Swedish dairy giant Arla in the Middle East appears to be drawing to an end.

The company hopes to win back half of its market share by the end of the year, after religious leaders called for the boycott to be lifted.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.


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