'We will not be intimidated'

Wellington, New Zealand - A New Zealand newspaper reproduced Danish caricatures of the prophet Muhammad on Saturday, saying it was standing for press freedom and would not be intimidated by threats of trade boycotts or other reprisals.

The Dominion Post newspaper in New Zealand's capital, Wellington, published the drawings on an inside page along with an article reporting international reaction to them.

The cartoons were first published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September last year and some European newspapers reprinted them this week.

The Post Dominion is the first Kiwi newspaper to reproduce the 12 drawings, which include a depiction of Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb.

Outrage over caricatures has erupted in a swell of protests across the Muslim world, with demonstrators demanding revenge against Denmark and death for those they accuse of defaming Islam's holiest figure.

The Dominion Post's editor Tim Pankhurst, chairman of the Commonwealth Press Union, said he decided to reproduce the drawings in the interests of press freedom and tolerance.

Pamkhurst said: "It's important for our readers to see what the fuss is about and to make up their own minds.

"Ours is a secular society based on Western ideals of tolerance and open debate, even if that may occasionally offend.

"We do not wish to be deliberately provocative but neither should we allow ourselves to be intimidated."

New Zealand Muslims immediately protested the newspaper's decision and said New Zealand risked becoming a target for trade boycotts by Muslims and Muslim nations.