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Arla denounces Muhammad cartoons

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20:05 CET+01:00
Danish-Swedish dairy firm Arla, which has been the victim of a boycott of Danish products, denounced on Sunday cartoons ridiculing the Muslim Prophet Muhammad as the company sought to win back lost business.

"The Arla Foods company denounces and rejects the cartoons published by the Danish newspaper (Jyllands-Posten), mock the Prophet Muhammad and refuses any justifications for the act," the corporation said in full page advertisements taken out in papers across the Middle East.

"Justice and forgiveness are among the principal teachings of Islam and we hope that you will reexamine your position regarding us," the ad read.

Arla Foods, which claims to employs 1,000 Muslims in Arab and Islamic countries, said the advertisement was timed to coincide with a conference on Wednesday and Thursday in Bahrain defending the Prophet Muhammad's image in the wake of the cartoon furor.

The 12 drawings of Muhammad, which first appeared in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten last September, sparked violent protests since January in Muslim countries against Denmark and other European countries that printed the cartoons.

Arla Foods kicked off a publicity campaign in February to reclaim Arab markets, which make up between six and eight percent of its gross profits, that it lost as the Muslim world voiced anger over the caricatures. The boycott in Egyptian alone has cost the firm around 12.5 million kronor per day.


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