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German court OKs use of Prophet Muhammad pics at upcoming far-right rally

Is Berlin asking for trouble or standing up for free speech?

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New York, UNITED STATES: Several hundred Muslims from the New York City area hold a protest in front on the Danish Consulate 17 February 2006 against the publication of cartoons depicting Islamic Prophet Muhammad that appeared in newspapers in Denmark. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed concern earlier this week that Muslim outrage over the cartooons could 'spin out of control,' particularly if fueled by countries like Iran and Syria. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

BERLIN, Germany -- A German court today ruled that images of Prophet Muhammad banned by Islam as idolatrous can be shown at an upcoming far-right rally, a decision that has Berlin police scrambling to prepare for possible clashes at the Saturday event, reported Agence-France Press

The ruling heightens the possibility of violence at the planned "Citizens Movement — Pro Germany" demonstrations after riots broke out and a Danish cartoonist's life was threatened for publishing cartoons of the Prophet in a Norwegian newspaper in 2005. 

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Group members are rallying under "Islam does not belong in Germany — stop Islamization" in Berlin on Saturday, according to The Associated Press

An administrative court in the capital today rejected an emergency appeal filed by three mosques that asked officials to ban the group's use of the images of the Prophet, depictions considered sacrilegious under Islam, said AP

But the court said prohibiting the display of such images would violate “artistic freedom," reported AFP

"Simply showing the Mohammed cartoons does not qualify as a call to hatred or violence against a specific segment of the population,” the judges ruled, said AP

The decision comes several months after violent clashes broke out between radical Islamist Salafi groups and far-right organizations in the country's North-Rhine Westphalia region, reported GlobalPost's Siobhan Dowling

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/germany/120816/german-court-oks-use-prophet-mohammed-pics-at-upcoming-f