More Egyptian criticism of Swedish cartoon

Egypt's lawmakers on Tuesday condemned the publication by a Swedish newspaper of a cartoon of Islam's prophet Muhammad as a dog saying such "odious" acts fanned religious hatred.

“We regret this indecent behaviour,” said a statement from the parliament’s foreign affairs committee as the full legislature is not currently in session.

Muslims worldwide should inform their respective ambassadors of their unhappiness, the statement said, calling also for those responsible for “this odious crime” to be punished.

The Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda published a cartoon on August 18 showing Muhammad’s head on the body of a dog to illustrate an editorial on self-censorship and freedom of expression and religion.

It was published less than two years after cartoons deemed offensive to the prophet Muhammad were printed in Denmark’s biggest daily and sparked anger across the Islamic world, culminating in deadly protests in several countries in early 2006.

Egypt’s Ministry of Al-Awkaf (religious endowments) referred on Sunday to the publication of the caricature as “irresponsible and offensive”. The Egyptian parliament’s Arab Affairs Committee on Monday called for those responsible for the publication to face justice to avoid a repetition of the 2006 outcry.

A strict interpretation of Islam forbids the depiction of Muhammad in any form.