Briefly noted

March 25, 2008

The decision by 17 Danish newspapers to reprint a controversial cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad that caused rioting worldwide in early 2006 was condemned by the Washington-based Institute on Religion and Public Policy. Demonstrators in Amman, Jordan, reportedly burned Danish flags outside the Copenhagen embassy February 25 in a protest against the cartoon reprints. On the previous day, Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir threatened to expel Danish organizations and boycott Danish products. The Danish newspapers said their decision to republish the cartoon February 13 represented commitment to freedom of expression after law enforcement authorities uncovered a plot they said was aimed at killing the cartoonist who created the satiric drawing. “Publishing them twice is simply inflammatory,” said Joseph K. Grieboski, the institute’s president.

Church leaders in Uganda have welcomed the announcement of a “permanent cease-fire” between the government and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army, and have said it signals the end of a two-decade-long conflict in the north of the country. “The challenge now is to address the postwar reconstruction and reconciliation,” Grace Kaiso told ENI from the Ugandan capital, Kampala, on February 26. “We urge our partners to give support to the processes,” he said. Kaiso heads the Uganda Joint Christian Council, which groups Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. Since 1988, the rebel group, led by Joseph Kony, has been fighting to overthrow the government of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, who seized power in 1986. Kaiso said the hardest part would be to fulfill the demands of the cease-fire agreement. Ugandan analyst Levi Ochieng questioned whether the peace deal could work in practice, Reuters reported.