Supermarkets in Gulf Arab states have stopped selling Danish products to protest against the new publication in Denmark of a controversial newspaper cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
The Times of Oman reported on Sunday that Al Jadeeda Stores had stopped selling products from Denmark in all six of its branches in the conservative Muslim sultanate.
The boycott will be maintained "as long as the insulting caricatures continue to be published", Mukhtar Al Lawati, the public relations chief of Al Jadeeda Stores, told the English-language daily.
Similar action was underway in the UAE. On Saturday, newspapers reported that the Union Cooperative Society, which operates a chain of seven hypermarkets across the oil-rich federation, had started a boycott of Danish products.
"We have been directed to remove the Danish goods, mostly consisting of dairy products from the shelves," in protest over the cartoons deemed offensive by Muslims, a store official told one newspaper.
The contentious cartoon featuring the prophet's head with a turban that looks like a bomb with a lit fuse was first published in the Danish newspaper Jyllandsposten in 2005, sparked violent demonstrations in Muslim countries.
In February, at least 17 Danish dailies reprinted the drawing, triggering fresh Muslim anger and protests in several countries. The republication was intended as a show of solidarity after police said it had foiled a murder plot against the cartoonist.
Less than a week later, prominent Muslim scholar Dr Yusuf Al Qaradawi urged Muslims to boycott Danish goods and peacefully protest against the repeated republication.
Supermarkets and hypermarkets across the UAE have since then been waiting to hear whether there is to be an official boycott.
Danish exports to Muslim countries fell by more than 11 per cent in 2006 during the boycott following the first appearance of the cartoons, according to Denmark’s national statistics agency.
The new publication of the cartoon has increased the threat of attacks in Denmark and against Danes abraod, the Danish Intelligence and Security Service said in a report on Friday. (AFP)
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