Sudan Vows To Ban Danish Travelers
BY MOHAMED OSMAN - Associated Press
February 28, 2008
KHARTOUM, Sudan - President Bashir vowed yesterday to ban Danes from Sudan
and called for a Muslim boycott of Denmark before a crowd of tens of
thousands denouncing the country at a government-backed protest against a
cartoon satirizing the Prophet Muhammad.
The rally outside Mr. Bashir's palace in Khartoum was the biggest protest in
the Muslim world since Danish papers reprinted the cartoon, seen by many
Muslims as insulting to their religion's most revered figure. The
demonstration raised fears that renewed protests over the cartoon - so far
small and scattered - could grow. "We urge all Muslims around the world to
boycott Danish commodities, goods, companies, institutions, organizations,
and personalities," Mr. Bashir told the crowd. "Down, down, Denmark!"
shouted the protesters. Mr. Bashir vowed that "not a single Danish foot will
from now on desecrate the land of Sudan."
It was not clear whether Mr. Bashir would expel the two dozen Danes who work
in Sudan, mostly in aid organizations and as peacekeepers in southern Sudan
and Darfur. The Danish Charge d'Affaires in Khartoum, Karin Soerensen, said
her mission had not been notified of any order for Danes to leave.
Mr. Bashir's Islamist government has frequently used perceived insults to
Muhammad to rally support for the regime and opposition to international
pressure to accept United Nations peacekeepers in Sudan. He has barred
peacekeepers from Sweden and Norway from a United Nations-African force in
the Darfur region because papers in those countries ran similar cartoons in
Khartoum began enforcing a ban on Danish products Tuesday.
Danish exports to Sudan are minimal, consisting mainly of dairy products. In
2006, they amounted to $23 million. But Sudan is one of the largest
recipients of Danish aid - $26 million in 2006 and a $100 million
humanitarian and reconstruction package is planned through 2009.