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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 February 2006, 23:40 GMT
Two Jordan editors are arrested
Protests against Denmark have spread to many Muslim countries
Two Jordanian newspaper editors who published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad have been arrested.

Jihad Momani and Hisham Khalidi are accused of insulting religion under Jordan's press and publications law.

Mr Momani was fired from the weekly Shihan after reproducing the cartoons - originally printed in Denmark - which have caused a global storm of protest.

One of the cartoons depicts Muhammad as a terrorist. Any images of the Prophet are banned under Islamic tradition.

'Abuse of freedom'

Mr Momani's arrest came earlier on Saturday, a day after Jordanian King Abdullah condemned the cartoons as an unnecessary abuse of freedom of speech.

Mr Momani's paper, Shihan, had printed three of the cartoons, alongside an editorial questioning whether the angry reaction to them in the Muslim world was justified.

"Muslims of the world be reasonable," wrote Mr Momani.

"What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony in Amman?"

Mr Khalidi, whose al-Mehwar newspaper had also reprinted the cartoons, was detained late on Saturday. Al-Mehwar had reproduced the cartoons over a week ago to accompany an article on the condemnation they had sparked.


In a public letter of apology after his sacking, Mr Momani said he did not mean to cause offence, Reuters news agency reported.

Arab Printers Company, the publisher of Shihan, also withdrew copies of the popular tabloid from news stands across the country and promised tough moves against those involved.

The drawings have sparked protests in countries including Indonesia, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.

A number of European newspapers have printed the cartoons, but the Jordanian paper was believed to be the first in a Muslim country to do so.


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