“In a press statement issued last night the Danish daily, Jyllandsposten, apologized to the Muslim world. The newspaper stressed that it was not their intention to be offensive. The newspaper apologises for the indisputable offence to many Muslims caused by the drawings.
I want to emphasise that in Denmark we attach fundamental importance to the freedom of expression, which is a vital and indispensable part of a democratic society.
This being said I would like to stress as my personal opinion that I deeply respect the religious feelings of other people. Consequently, I would never myself have chosen to depict religious symbols in this way. Likewise I am deeply distressed by the fact that these drawings by many Muslims have been seen as a defamation of the Prophet Mohammed and Islam as a religion. I hope that the apology of the independent newspaper Jyllandsposten will contribute to comfort those that have been hurt.
I am pleased to note that this apology has been received positively by Muslim communities in Denmark and that they have pledged support for our efforts.
I want to emphasise that the Danish Government condemns any expression, action or indication that attempts to demonise groups of people on the basis of their religion or ethnic background. It is the sort of thing that does not belong in a society that is based on respect for the individual human being.
On this basis I call on all parties to abstain from any statement or action that will create further tension. In Denmark as well as in other countries we must do our utmost to get back to the dialogue and build on the friendship that has always characterized the relations between Denmark and the Muslim world.”