PM Thanks Muslims for Helping Diffuse Tensions Over Cartoons

February 28, 2006

Source: New Zealand Herald

On February 28, 2006 the New Zealand Herald reported, "Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday thanked the Islamic community in New Zealand for trying to defuse negative reaction overseas to controversial cartoons published in local media. The cartoons, first published in Denmark, included one of the prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb as a turban. They were subsequently published in several other countries, including New Zealand, and provoked a storm of outrage in the Muslim world - leading to calls for trade bans on countries where the cartoons were published. But Helen Clark told participants at an 'interfaith' religious peace forum at Parliament that New Zealand Muslims had played a constructive role. 'Thank you also to the Islamic community for the steps they took to reach out to the wider Islamic community to say that New Zealand is a ... tolerant, inclusive country of peace - that's very important for our country's reputation.' Helen Clark also said New Zealand was making a deliberate effort to form relationships with Islamic countries to bridge 'the deep gulf' that had been created since September 11, 2001."