Lithuanians respond to Muslim cartoon protests

  • 2006-02-07
  • By TBT Staff
VILNIUS -- As protests sweep Europe and the Middle East in response to cartoons depicting Muhammed in a Danish newspaper, the Lithuanian parliament's National Security and Defense Committee will hold an extraordinary meeting.

We have to consider that issue at the highest level," the committee's deputy chairman, Algis Kaseta, told the BNS. "We see that the situation is not improving, but is worsening and therefore some measures have to be taken without delay in order to avoid tragedies, keeping in mind that Lithuanian citizens travel to the countries swept by unrest [and Lithuanian] troops participate in peacekeeping missions."

Other Lithuanians responded to the current crisis.

Defense Minister Gediminas Kirkilas told the country's national radio on Tuesday that peacekeepers would not withdraw from Afghanistan or Iraq due to the protests.

In a telephone conversation on Tuesday with his Danish counterpart Soren Gade, Kirkilas had already expressed his support for the Scandinavian country, the ministry said.

Like Roman Catholic officials elsewhere in Europe, Kaunas Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius condemned the Danish newspaper's decision to print the cartoons in an interview with the Delfi website.

"A sneer at a person of religion cannot be disguised under freedom of press," Tamkevicius said. "Therefore, the position of high-ranking European Union officials and leaders of some countries is strange to me, to put it mildly. Politicians should have said clearly that it is evil and should not have tolerated this, as this may backfire on them."