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Bush, King Abdullah Urge End of Violent Protests Over Cartoons

  • Paula Wolfson

President George Bush is calling for an end to violent protests by Muslims who have been enraged by cartoons that depict the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist.

President Bush says the violence must stop.

"I call upon the governments around the world to stop the violence, to be respectful, to protect property, to protect the lives of innocent diplomats, who are serving their countries overseas," he said.

He indicates the topic dominated his meeting with King Abdullah, noting it deserves a lot of attention and serious thought.

"We made it clear to his Majesty and he made it clear to me that we reject violence as a way to express discontent with what may be printed in a free press," he added.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the White House talks, Mr. Bush stressed the importance of a free press, but added, with that freedom comes the responsibility to be thoughtful about others. King Abdullah struck the same theme.

"With all respect to press freedoms, obviously anything that vilifies the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, or attacks Muslim sensibilities, I believe, needs to be condemned. But at the same time, those that want to protest should do it thoughtfully, articulately and express their views peacefully," he added.The Jordanian monarch said violent protest is completely unacceptable, especially if innocent people die.

The monarch's comments come amid continued protests over the cartoons. In Afghanistan, police shot and killed at least four demonstrators as they tried to march to a U.S. military base.

Denmark, where the series of political cartoons of the prophet was first printed, has urged its nationals to leave Indonesia and Iran. Danish diplomatic offices have already come under attack in Jakarta, Tehran, Damascus and Beirut.

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