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Russians Close Papers For Printing Cartoons

Man, did you ever think you’d see the day when freedom of the press would be as limited in Russia as it is in Sweden?

From those idolaters of the Prophet at the DNC’s Associated Press:

Map of the Soviet Union’s system of gulags.

Paper closes after publishing cartoons

By JIM HEINTZ – Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian newspaper that reprinted the Prophet Muhammad drawings at the center of a wave of protests in the Islamic world has closed, its owner said Tuesday.

The weekly Nash Region became the second Russian newspaper in a week to shut down amid heightened sensitivities about portrayals of Muhammad.

The publications have triggered deadly protests worldwide.

“I shut it down so that it wouldn’t become a real instigation for religious strife,” owner Mikhail Smirnov told The Associated Press. The paper was based in Vologda, about 500 miles north of Moscow.

The newspaper published a collage of the cartoons on Feb. 15 as part of an article examining the furor over the drawings, which were first printed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September. Muslims have been angered by the cartoons, which include a depiction of the prophet with a turban shaped like a bomb, because of their tone and because Islamic tradition forbids portrayals of the prophet out of concerns they may lead to idolatry.

Prosecutors began investigating editor Anna Smirnova on charges of using her position to incite hatred after Nash Region became the first Russian paper to publish the drawings.

Last week, the mayor of the southern city of Volgograd ordered the closure of the city-owned newspaper Gorodskiye Vesti after it published a cartoon showing Muhammad. The city administration said the order was intended “to prevent incitement of enmity on religious national and social grounds, and also to stop the abuse of media freedom.”

The cartoon depicted Jesus, Moses, Buddha and Muhammad watching television. The TV screen showed two groups of people about to start a fist fight, and the drawing was accompanied by a caption reading, “We did not teach you that.”

President Vladimir Putin has condemned the publication of the cartoons, apparently fearing that tension over the cartoons could destabilize Russia, whose population includes an estimated 20 million Muslims, or nearly 14 percent.

Also, prosecutors in the Altai region opened an investigation of a Web site run by regional news agency Bankfax in connection with comments about the cartoon controversy that appeared in a site forum, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. The probe will determine whether to file charges of provoking religious enmity.

(Gracias to DW for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, February 21st, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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