Egypt: Danish politician misquoted

Socialist People's Party leader Villy Søvndal's picture appeared on the front page of an Egyptian newspaper Wednesday with the quote 'Muslims can go to hell' attributed to him.

Søvndal has been a hot subject in the news lately, but this most recent front page appearance is one over which he is not especially pleased, as he was misquoted.

Søvndal's 'go to hell' remarks were made over a week ago in response to radical members of the Islamic fundamentalist group Hizb ut-Tahrir's protests against the reprinting of the Mohammed drawings. The drawings were published again in connection with the arrest of three people who planned to murder the cartoonist.

The newspaper, Al-Gomhuria, did not mention Hizb ut-Tahrir in the accompanying article.

'Everyone knows what it is I said and that I was talking explicitly about Hizb ut-Tahrir,' said Søvndal. 'I would naturally never dream of generalising about people of another religion.'

Per Stig Møller, the foreign minister, said Søvndal would have to make amends himself over the situation, but admitted that 'these things happen to all of us' in political positions.

The Foreign Ministry has responded to the incident by planning a meeting with 12 ambassadors from Muslim countries, according to Claus Holm, the ministry's ambassador to Egypt. Holm said the misquote could have been a simple case of poor translation.

Source: Copenhagen Post (English)

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