Islamic states join U.N., EU in appealing for calm over cartoons

The 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference joined the United Nations and the European Union on Tuesday in appealing for calm over the Prophet Muhammad cartoons.

"Aggression against life and property can only damage the image of a peaceful Islam," said a statement released by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the OIC.

The statement was the latest effort by the international community to restrain the outrage over caricatures of Muhammad in European newspapers that have sparked violent protests by Muslims in several countries.

"These events make the need for renewed dialogue, among and between communities of different faiths and authorities of different countries, all the more urgent," said the statement from the three organizations. "We call on them to appeal for restraint and calm, in the spirit of friendship and mutual respect."

Solana, Ihsanoglu and Annan were critical of the "insulting caricatures" that first appeared in a Danish newspaper in September and since have been reprinted in other publications.

"The anguish in the Muslim world at the publication of these offensive caricatures is shared by all individuals and communities who recognize the sensitivity of deeply held religious belief," their statement said.

"In all societies there is a need to show sensitivity and responsibility in treating issues of special significance for the adherents of any particular faith, even by those who do not share the belief in question", reports AP.

O.Ch.