President condemns publishing of Mohammed cartoons in Ukraine

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KIEV, February 8 (RIA Novosti) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko finds unacceptable a Ukrainian newspaper's decision to reprint the controversial Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed, a presidential spokesperson said Wednesday.

Yushchenko's press secretary Irina Gerashchenko told a news briefing, "We consider any publications, materials, and acts to be unacceptable if they insult the national or religious feelings of citizens. The Ukrainian president condemns any manifestations of intolerance and xenophobia."

The publication of the cartoons in Segodnya, a Ukrainian daily, caused a storm of criticism from a number of political and public organizations in the country.

Depictions of Mohammed are explicitly prohibited in Islam. The cartoons, originally published in a Danish newspaper and subsequently reprinted in several other countries, provoked protests throughout the Muslim world, which led to the Danish Embassy in Lebanon being ransacked on Monday.

According to Gerashchenko, the president holds a tough position on such acts, and does everything possible to secure religious and ethnic accord in Ukraine.

"Freedom of speech, political correctness, and morals must go hand in hand in a democratic country. Freedom of speech demands a high level of responsibility among the media. The violation of this principle, which can cause international and interethnic tension, will be vehemently denounced by Yushchenko and his team," Gerashchenko said.

Images (the cartoon-inspired violence)

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