Armed militants angered by a cartoon drawing of the Prophet Mohammed published in European newspapers surrounded EU offices in Gaza on Thursday and threatened to kidnap foreigners as outrage over the caricatures spread across the Islamic world. More than 300 students demonstrated in Pakistan, chanting "Death to France!" and "Death to Denmark!"The religion of peace, you say? Thankfully, there is some EU spine on this one:
Foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers began leaving Gaza as gunmen there threatened to kidnap citizens of France, Norway, Denmark and Germany unless those governments apologize for the cartoon. Gunmen in the West Bank city of Nablus entered four hotels to search for foreigners to abduct and warned their owners not to host guests from several European countries. Gunmen said they were also searching apartments in Nablus for Europeans. Militants in Gaza said they would shut down media offices from France, Norway, Denmark and Germany, singling out the French news agency Agence France Presse. "Any citizens of these countries, who are present in Gaza, will put themselves in danger," a Fatah-affiliated gunman said outside the EU Commission's office in Gaza, flanked by two masked men holding rifles.
Norwegian, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Swiss, Belgian and German newspapers have already reproduced the drawings out of solidarity with the Danish newspaper. News giants such as the British BBC and the French Le Monde newspaper have also joined the campaign, with the latter contributing with works from its own illustrators.The long-term effects of militant immigrants refusing to assimilate to the cultures in the nations they themselves seek out is every part as threatening to crackpots with the bomb.
Commissioner for Justice, Security and Freedom Franco Frattini Thursday said that although he could understand the feelings of indignation and sadness of the Muslim community, "one of the founding principles of our Europe is freedom of expression,
including the right to criticize." The Union's homeland security chief lashed out at the aggressive measures taken against Denmark by some Middle Eastern countries. "It should be crystal clear to all that violence, intimidation, and the calls for boycotts or for restraints on the freedom of the press are completely unacceptable and will not bring about a constructive discussion between communities"