BERLIN, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- The German government said it won't apologize for German newspapers reprinting controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
"Why should the government apologize for an act of press freedom?" Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble asked in an interview with daily Die Welt, one of several German papers that reprinted cartoons. "If the government interferes with that, then that's the first step to restrict the freedom of the press."
The 12 drawings of Mohammed first published in a Danish newspaper have resulted in protests across the Arab world, as they were deemed provocative and insulting. They include a picture of Mohammed wearing a turban shaped like a fizzing bomb.
The drawings have caused Arab states to withdraw ambassadors from Denmark and led to a boycott of Danish Products in the Middle East. Scandinavians were urged to leave the region.
Since then, newspapers in several European countries, such as Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, Norway, Iceland, France, the Netherlands and Italy have reprinted the cartoons to defend free speech or simply side with the Danish press. In France, an editor of a newspaper was fired because of his decision to reprint the cartoons.
The Danish newspaper earlier this week apologized in an editorial directed at Muslims for hurting their feelings.