Reuters: An Iranian newspaper’s call for Holocaust cartoons is an attempt to drag Israel into a conflict between Europe and the Muslim world over caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad, a German government minister said. BERLIN, Feb 8 (Reuters) – An Iranian newspaper’s call for Holocaust cartoons is an attempt to drag Israel into a conflict between Europe and the Muslim world over caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad, a German government minister said.
“After denying the right of Israel to exist and denying the Holocaust, the people around President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad are trying to escalate the situation,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gernot Erler was quoted as saying in Wednesday’s edition of the Berliner Zeitung daily newspaper.
“This fills us with deep concern, that a state is using this clash of cultures as a tool to further its own dominance.”
Iran’s best-selling newspaper launched a competition on Tuesday to find the best cartoon about the Holocaust, in retaliation for the publication in Denmark and other European countries of caricatures of Islam’s most revered prophet.
Last year Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be “wiped off the map” and said he doubted six million Jews were killed by the Nazis during World War Two.
Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany, punishable with up to five years in prison. Printing cartoons that make light of the Holocaust but do not question it would not be a crime but would invite private lawsuits and other legal difficulties for a newspaper in Germany.
Eckart von Klaeden, foreign policy spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) in parliament, said Iran was trying to widen a conflict between Denmark and the Muslim world to include Israel.
“Once again Iran is trying to drag Israel into the conflict with the motto — Israel is responsible for everything,” von Klaeden said in a statement. “We should not let Israel be dragged into this.”