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THE SITUATION ROOM
President Bush, Former Presidents Attend Funeral of Coretta Scott King; Interview With 'Jyllands-Posten' Editor Flemming Rose
Aired February 7, 2006 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: To our viewers, you're now in the SITUATION ROOM where new pictures and information are arriving all the time.
Standing by, CNN reporters across the United States and around the world bringing today's top stories. Happening now, it's 7:00 p.m. in Georgia where the current president and three of his predecessors were along the thousands paying tribute to Coretta Scott King. We'll show you some of the highlights, including some surprising political remarks.
And it's 3:30 a.m. Wednesday in Tehran, just one of the cities from Asia to Africa rocked by violence all over a controversial series of cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. And 1:00 a.m. in Denmark. Talk to the editor of the Danish newspaper that first ran the cartoons and ask if he now regrets that decision. I'm Wolf Blitzer, you're in the SITUATION ROOM.
We're watching a hearse in Atlanta carrying the body of Coretta Scott King, it's taking her to her final resting place at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Center along where she will be buried alongside her late husband. Earlier at her funeral there were dignitaries and luminaries, ordinary people and household names, presidents and those named King. All of them were equal today in their praise. Our Rusty Dornin reports.
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They came by the limos and bus loads, great and small to honor a woman known for courage, dignity and quiet persistence. More than 10,000 people game to say good-bye to Coretta Scott King, four presidents were among them. All testified to her impact around the world.
GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT: Having loved a leader, she became a leader and when she spoke, America listened closely because her voice carried the wisdom and goodness of a life well lived.
DORNIN: A celebration of her life packed with passion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lay down the law and be of the courage (ph).
DORNIN: There were light hearted moments.
GEORGE H. W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: I may be your lucky day, I lost a page.
DORNIN: A celebration not without its politics, Reverend Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King, Jr. brought roars from the crowd when he took aim at the Bush administration.
REV. JOSEPH E. LOWERY, SCLC: She deplored the terror inflicted by our smart bombs on missions way afar. We know now that there were no weapons of mass destruction over there.
DORNIN: But today was for accolades of King. The chronicles of her achievement brought a reminder from a former president.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I don't want to forget that there's a woman in there. Not a symbol, not a symbol, a real woman who lived and breathed and got angry and got hurt, and had dreams and disappointments.
DORNIN: Poet Maya Angelou called her the quintessential African American woman.
MAYA ANGELOU, POET: Born of flesh and destined to become iron.
BERNICE KING, CORETTA SCOTT KING'S DAUGHTER: I'm just here to celebrate, so let everything right now that grant praise be the lord.
DORNIN: A powerful eulogy by her daughter Bernice, a preacher like her father and grandfather before her, now the bearer of her mother's message.
B. KING: That it's either nonviolence or nonexistence. That was Coretta Scott King.
DORNIN: Rusty Dornin, CNN, Atlanta, Georgia.
BLITZER: And the hearse carrying Coretta Scott King now moving toward the Dr. Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta. The motorcade moving slowly to her final journey. Much more coming up this hour, including interesting back and forth between a reverend and two presidents, much more on this important day in American history, that's coming up later this hour.
Other news we're following, including overseas news, there's fresh and violent fury today at those controversial caricatures of Prophet Mohammed. Thousands of people around the world took part in demonstrations. Some of which got simply out of control. Our Beirut bureau chief and senior international correspondent Brent Sadler is following develops from the Lebanese capital. Brent?
BRENT SADLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Wolf.
Tens of thousands of Muslims demonstrated in the Middle East, Asia and Africa on yet another deadly day of protest, amid deepening fears among some western leaders that unless voices of moderation from both inside and outside the Islamic world succeed in calming this rage, this global revolt may get even worse.
SADLER (voice-over): For the second day in a row, an angry protest outside of the Danish embassy in Tehran turned violent. Hundreds of Muslims chant death to Denmark outraged by the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper. Suddenly the crowd surges forward, trying to storm the embassy gates. Several protesters scramble over the fence but are quickly captured.
While a Molotov cocktail sets a tree inside the compound on fire. The same day that Iran's best selling newspaper announces retaliation. A contest for the best cartoon about the Holocaust. The U.S. State Department was quick to condemn it.
SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: It's outrageous. It is -- any attempt to mock, or to, in any way denigrate the horror that was the Holocaust is simply outrageous.
SADLER: Violence also in where demonstrators attacked a NATO base that houses Scandinavian peace keepers. They fired guns and grenades. The troops responded with warning shots and tear gas while a British rapid reaction force from a nearby base came to their aid. The United Nations says it's pulling all of its staff out of the region. And neighboring Pakistan, thousands of people joined a protest march in Peshawar against the cartoons. Several government officials also took part, including the provincial chief minister. With other protests from Asia to Africa, Denmark's prime minister, now calls the situation a growing global crisis.
ANDER FOGH RASMUSSEN, DANISH PRIME MINISTER: Today, the people of Denmark, witnessed, with disbelief and sadness, the events unfolding in the world. We are watching Danish flags being burned, and Danish embassies being attacked.
SADLER (on camera): Now, some of the worst of the violence, Wolf, has been seen here in the Lebanese capital, Beirut and also in neighboring Syria. Danish interests attacked by enraged mobs, stones hurled, fires started. But here as elsewhere, there is converging suspicion and some evidence that while Muslims feel insulted and angry, that it's the Islamic extremists whipping up the worst of the violence to damage and challenge the West for the Arab masses. Wolf?
BLITZER: Is there a spillover, Brent, on Christian-Muslim relations in Lebanon, which, has you well know has been very tenuous over these past several decades?
SADLER: Absolutely. There was a 15 year civil war here. This capital was once divided between Christian and Muslim militias. It came to the brink of really serious violence breaking out. The worst scuffles, violent scuffles between Christians and Muslims after a church was attacked here at the height of the riots Sunday. And that really is a great concern to a country where a multi religious society still struggles to maintain a peaceful balance here. Wolf? BLITZER: All right. Brent Sadler in Beirut, thank you very much. As he just reported, the cartoon controversy may be a lot more than just over a cartoon. Our Tom Foreman is here at THE SITUATION ROOM looking into this part of the story. What are you finding, Tom?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll tell you, the first place to look, Wolf, is the map. Look at this. This is the area, and this is where these protests are. Starting here in Africa, going through the Middle East here, on past India over here and all the way down into Indonesia. What's important about that is this. These protests span the Muslim world. Look at that. All the yellow nations here are the Muslim nations in the world. This is precisely what Osama bin Laden has said for years that he wants, a clash of civilizations between between the entire Muslim world and the entire western world.
And just as importantly, this is happening in some of the poorest parts of our planet.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Even in a region that produces much of the world's oil, millions of Muslims are barely connected to the global economy. They live on little money with few political rights and that, analyst say, fuels their reaction to insults from the outside.
IMAM AJMAL MASROOR, ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF BRITAIN: They are not allowed to freely express their views. And any opportunity they get they jump on the band wagon. So it's a whole mishmash of various political as well as social issues that's all come to a head with this cartoon saga.
FOREMAN: Certainly al Qaeda has pushed hard for such a clash of civilizations. Fanning resentment among poor Muslims into religious, cultural and militant zeal. Although Osama bin Laden and many of his lieutenants came from wealthy families, they have recruited among the poor and encouraged religious schools in poor areas to teach a tolerant brand of Islam. That worries moderate Muslims, who are offended by the cartoons but who also condemn the violence that has followed.
AHMED YOUNIS, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL: The people we see on TV are less than one percent of the Muslim masses.
FOREMAN: Still that percentage, however small is making a big noise now, just as Osama bin Laden has openly hoped it would.
FOREMAN (on camera): How deeply poverty can be seen as the seed bed for a lot of this is up for debate. Some people don't think it's that big of an issue. But this is absolutely clear, it's more than about a cartoon, for some of the people driving these protests, this is about a socially disaffected group. A group that Osama bin Laden wants at war with everybody else and this could be at least something that they might claim as a success, because they are clearly are angry at the world.
BLITZER: Tom Foreman, thanks very much. Let's check in with our Jack Cafferty in New York. He's watching the story as well.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Wolf. All the protests about the Prophet Mohammed cartoons continue to spread, so does the reluctance here in the United States to show them. Newspapers have mostly avoided publishing the cartoons. The "Philadelphia Inquirer" published one of them as part of a story about the media not showing the cartoons.
When it comes to the television networks, only ABC News showed the cartoons very briefly last Thursday, NBC has been showing only part of the cartoon. CBS isn't showing anything. And CNN showed a blurred picture of the cartoons. Whether the decisions not to show them are out of respect for the Muslim religion, a decision about their newsworthiness, or perhaps fear, it's all a bit silly, anyone can find them online in an instance. The question is this, shawl the United States media have censored the Prophet Mohammed cartoons? E- mail us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can go to cnn.com/caffertyfile.
BLITZER: You're going to get a ton of e-mail on this question, Jack.
CAFFERTY: I think so.
BLITZER: Thank you very much. And some of our viewers may be wondering why CNN is not airing them. The company decided that CNN's role is to cover the controversy surrounding the publication of the cartoons, and quote, "not to unnecessarily fan the flames."
Coming up, deadly protest around the world over the cartoon that many say is insulting to Islam. I'm going to be speaking with the man who made that initial decision to run that cartoon in the first place.
And with four presidents in attendance, Coretta Scott King's funeral takes on some political overtones. You'll hear exactly what was said earlier today. Politics and humor. The first President Bush and Bill Clinton share some amusing moments. We'll hear them tonight in the SITUATION ROOM. All that coming up.
BLITZER: More now on the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed sparking Muslim fury and deadly protests around the world. They first appeared in a Danish newspaper back in September. CNN's Mary Snow is in New York, she has more now on the origins of this outrage. Mary, what have you learned?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It started when a newspaper editor commissioned the drawings back in September, he said he did it initially to make a statement about free speech.
SNOW (voice-over): Flemming Rose is at the center of the storm. It was his decision to principle the cartoons in the first place. Rose is the cultural editor of the Danish newspaper that initially published them in September. At the time, Rose said he received one call from newspaper vendor that was Muslim and was angered by the picture of Mohammed in the illustrations. Five months later the protests mushroomed around the world, denouncing the cartoons. Rose said he won't denounce them, it's a matter of free speech.
FLEMMING ROSE, JYLLANDS-POSTEN: I'm a strong supporter of freedom of religion. When they ask me to submit myself to their rules and taboos in the public domain, I do not think they're asking of my respect. They're asking of my submission.
SNOW: Denmark's prime minister said the country can't be held responsible for a free and independent newspaper.
RASMUSSEN: Let me also remind you that the newspaper already apologized for the offense caused by the cartoons.
SNOW: The paper issued an apology in Arabic on its Web site. Rose says he's sorry they're offended but he cannot apologize for cartoons. The problem, he says, started when they draw the Prophet as they see him, Rose picked 12 to publish including one of Mohammed wearing a turban shaped like a bomb. This one is seen as particularly offensive.
The protest grew in January when a newspaper in Norway printed the cartoons. Papers in France, Italy and other countries followed.
SNOW: Editor Flemming Rose says he asked for the cartoons because he says he saw a number of cases of self-censorship when it came to Islam. He cited a writer who had difficulty finding an illustrator for a children's book about the Prophet Mohammed because artists were afraid of the consequences.
He questioned why artwork having to do with Islam was removed from some museums. Rose said he never intended not to make fun, he says he wanted to highlight a problem with free speech. Wolf?
BLITZER: Mary Snow reporting for us from New York. Good work, Mary, thank you very much. We now hear from Flemming Rose himself. The editor of that Danish paper that first published the cartoons.
BLITZER: Did you understand the prohibition in Islam of showing pictures, images, caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed? Did you understand that this is a central tenet in Islam?
ROSE: But that is not true. I mean, if you go to Tehran, you can buy a poster with an image of the prophet. You can buy a postcard in Tehran with an image of the prophet. Even within Sunni Islam, which it is in fact paying attention to this prohibition, there is a discussion whether this is regarding -- this is concerning only Sunni Muslims, whether this is also concerning non-believer.
And this is exactly what this debate is about. Does a religion have the right to impose its religious taboos, its religious rules onto the public domain? Should I, as a non-Muslim, submit myself to their taboos in the public domain?
I mean, I respect Islam. When I go to a mosque, I do behave in accordance with all their rules. I do not draw a cartoon of the prophet in a mosque. If I bring my daughter, she will be dressed in accordance with Islamic rules.
But I do think when they ask me to submit myself to their rules outside the mosque, they're not asking my respect; they are asking my submission. Even though, I mean, I do recognize that a lot of Muslims have been offended by these cartoons, and I apologize for that -- I'm really sorry if people have been offended. That was not my intention. My focus was on the question on self-censorship.
BLITZER: Knowing what you know right now, Mr. Rose, having to do it all over again, would you have done what you did?
ROSE: I think that is a hypothetical question. You know, these cartoons, they grew out of a concrete context. We had a story to cover, five, six cases of self-censorship. And we decided to cover it in an unusual way, by not telling it but showing it. But, in fact, I do not -- I do not accept the premise of your question, and I think it is like asking a rape victim if she regrets wearing a short skirt at the discotheque Friday night, in the sense that in our culture, that does not imply that you invite everybody to have sex with you.
And along the same lines, if you do -- if you make a religious cartoon, we do that with Jesus Christ, with the royal family, with public politicians, but that does not mean that you thereby denigrate their religion, you humiliate, you make fun of them. In fact, by that, you are saying, you are part of Denmark. You are treated like everybody else in our society. You are not strangers and outsiders.
BLITZER: Your newspaper issued a statement on January 30th, saying: "In my opinion, the 12 drawings were not intended to be offensive nor were they at variance with Danish law. But they have indisputably offended many Muslims, for which we apologize." Do you agree with that statement?
ROSE: Yes, I do.
BLITZER: Was it your intention when you asked for these 12 cartoons to provoke a response, to incite, if you will, a reaction among Muslims?
ROSE: Of course not. I was focused on the question of self- censorship, and I did not pay much attention to the reactions of Muslims. But I recognize that in the aftermath, in this developing story, a lot of Muslims had expressed their grief and anger. And I'm apologizing for that. That was not my intention.
But at the same time, I cannot apologize for the publication itself. I apologize for the feelings it has caused. But if I apologize for the publication, I thereby am saying that I have -- we did not have the right to do this, that this was wrong. And as you said, we have behaved within the boundaries, both on Danish law and Danish customs, traditions of satire and humor. We did not transcend anything in terms of Danish culture, tradition and law.
BLITZER: The co-founder of Hamas, the Palestinian group, made a statement according to the Associated Press on February 4th, in which Mahmoud al-Zahar said, "we should have killed all those who offend the prophet." I understand you have special security right now. How worried are you personally about your own safety?
ROSE: I'm not scared, and I am leaving that to competent people, to take care of my security. I am confident that the Danish police know how to handle this.
But let me also say that the cartoon who in fact inflicted very strong feelings among some Muslims, a cartoon depicting the prophet with a bomb in his turban, it is not a very special cartoon, not only directed at Muslims. In fact, some years ago, we published a cartoon with a bomb and a David Star, when we were trying to cover what is happening in the Middle East in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
So, you know, this was not stereotyping or demonizing of Muslims. And in fact, that cartoon is not -- it is not saying that the prophet was a terrorist, or that all Muslims are terrorists. It is just saying that some individuals have taken the peaceful religion of Islam hostage, in order to commit terrorist acts, and thereby giving their religion a bad name. It is not saying that every Muslim is a terrorist.
BLITZER: Flemming Rose, thanks very much for joining us, and good luck to you.
ROSE: Thank you.
BLITZER: And still to come here in the SITUATION ROOM, some in the media censored the picture of the Prophet Mohammed while some have not. What do you think about that? Jack Cafferty going through the e-mail. And four presidents at the funeral. Former president joining the current President Bush, all praising Coretta Scott King. We'll tell you what they had to say at this remarkable event earlier today. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back to the SITUATION ROOM. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington, our Zain Verjee is on assignment filling in for Soledad O'Brien on AMERICAN MORNING. Betty Nguyen is joining us now from the CNN Center in Atlanta with a closer look at other stories making news. Hi, Betty. BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, Wolf. Homeland security and FBI officials are linking bulk purchases of prepaid cell phones to possibly terrorist activity. They issued a warning to state and local enforcement that terrorist organizations might be using the phone to raise money and they also point out that the phones are difficult to tract and are sometimes used to detonate bombs. But officials stress that most people who make such purchases are probably not connected to terrorism.
Alabama's fire marshal is calling on police to step up patrols and a string of church fires in western Alabama overnight. Authorities are looking for a dark SUV in connection to the four fires are rural Baptist churches near the Mississippi border. Arson is suspected but investigators are say it's simply too early to make a link to five similar fires south of Birmingham on Friday. The FBI is treating those fires as civil rights violations.
And evacuation orders scheduled to be lifted this hour in Orange County, California where a wild fire is burning. Look at pictures, residents of some 2000 homes have been asked or were ordered to leave. The flames continued to burn, with 3,500 acres charred so far. Almost 1,000 people are working the fire lines.
And a national retail group is challenging a Maryland law aimed at getting Wal-Mart to spend more money on health care for its employees. The recently enacted measure requires companies with more than 10,000 employees in Maryland to spend at least eight percent of their payroll on health care. But the Retail Industry Leaders Association of Arlington, Virginia says it would hurt a company's flexibility and violate federal law -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Betty. Thank you very much. We'll see you later this hour.
Just minutes ago, the body of Coretta Scott King arrived in its final resting place, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center, in Atlanta. At today's funeral for Coretta Scott King, there were stirring songs and inspiring words. She was admired by so many people. Here is a sampling of how things went.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Martin Luther King Jr. had preached that Unmerited suffering could have redemptive power. Little did he know that this great truth would be proven in the life of the person he loved the most.
Others could cause her sorrow but no one could make her bitter. By going forward with a strong and forgiving heart, Coretta Scott King not only secured her husband's legacy, she built her own.
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Martin and Coretta have changed America. They were not appreciated even at the highest level of government. It was difficult for them personally, with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated as they became the targets of secret government wiretapping and other surveillance and, as you know, harassment from the FBI.
GEORGE H. W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our world is a kinder and gentler place because of Coretta Scott King, and together with her husband, their unyielding moral force changed the course of history. Within 60 days of receiving the Noble Peace Prize, Dr. King once again found himself sitting in a Selma jail.
Think about that. He'd been the toast of the world, repeatedly called to the White House, but to him it was fundamental human principle, not fame or power that mattered the most.
And every hour he sat in that cell, of course, Coretta suffered as well. Every step he had his followers subsequently made from Selma to the State House -- this may be your lucky day. I've lost a page. Hey, look, you're in. Come on, guys.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want to forget that there is a woman in there, not a symbol. Not a symbol, a real woman who lived and breathed, and got angry and got hurt, and had dreams and disappointments. And, I don't want us to forget that.
You know, I'm sitting here thinking, I wish I knew what her kids were thinking about now. I wonder if they were thinking about what I was thinking about at my mother's funeral. They said all this grand stuff.
I wonder if they're thinking about when she used to read books to them, or when she told them Bible stories, or what she said to them when their daddy got killed. We're here to honor a person.
Fifty-four years ago, her about-to-be husband said that he was looking for a woman with character, intelligence, personality and beauty and she sure fit the bill. And I have to say, when she was over 75, I thought she still fit the bill pretty good in all those categories.
MAYA ANGELOU, AUTHOR, POET: I speak as a sister of a sister. Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated on my birthday. And for over 30 years, Coretta Scott King and I have telephoned or sent cards to each other, or flowers to each other, or met each other somewhere in the world.
We called ourselves chosen sisters, and when we travelled to South Africa or to the Caribbean, or when she came to visit me in North Carolina or in New York, we sat into the late evening hours, calling each other girl. Now that's a black woman thing. And even as we reached well into our 70th decade, we still said girl.
BERNICE KING, DAUGHTER: Thank you, mother, for your incredible example of Christ-like love and obedience. We're going to miss you. But as I was laying on that floor talking to you, Yolanda, and we were praying, and I went in tongues, and I started praying in another language, I felt a transfer take place. There's a mantle that has fallen, and we're going to wait and see what God does through the seed of Martin and Coretta. God bless you. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Well, we're going to have much more from the funeral earlier today. That's coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
In the meantime though, let's check in with CNN's Anderson Cooper for a preview what's coming up on his program later tonight -- Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Wolf, on "360" at 10:00 Eastern tonight, the latest on the controversy over the cartoons, more rioting today as you've been showing, this time demonstrators launching grenades in protest to the cartoons depicting the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.
And now, in retaliation, there are reports a newspaper in Iran has started a competition to find the best cartoons about the Holocaust. We'll have the latest.
Also tonight, meet a little girl who has to live her life in darkness because lights could actually burn, blister, scar or possibly even kill her. We continue to look this week at medical mysteries at 10:00 p.m. Eastern -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Anderson, thank you very much. Anderson Cooper, coming up later tonight.
Just ahead, two presidents and a reverend in a surprisingly lighter but political exchange at the funeral. We're going to be playing the whole thing out for you. You're going to want to see this.
Plus, should the U.S. media have censored the Prophet Mohammed cartoons? We want to know what you think. Jack Cafferty is currently going through your e-mail, lots of them.
And take a look at this. This is the live picture you're going to be seeing right now from Atlanta. There it is, the hearse being removed from -- the casket, excuse me, being removed from the hearse, final resting ground at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Atlanta for Coretta Scott King.
BLITZER: Presidents, politicians and prominent religious figures offered high praise at Coretta Scott King's funeral earlier today. But some of those words were political. Listen to this.
REV. JOSEPH LOWERY, SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: How marvelous that presidents and governors come to mourn and praise. But in the morning, will words become deeds that meet needs? We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there.
(APPLAUSE) But Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance, poverty abound. For war, billions more, but no more for the poor.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: ... and I hope he doesn't mind because he's a legend here. I would like to say something to my friend Joe Lowery. Hey look, they used to send this guy to Washington and I kept score in the Oval Office desk. Lowery 21, Bush three. It wasn't a fair fight, but he's right though, Joe, the advice I'd give this guy is, Maya has nothing to worry about. Don't give up your day job. Keep preaching.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm honored to be here with my president and former presidents, and when -- when President Bush 41 complained that he was at a disadvantage, because he was an Episcopalian, and then he came up here and zings Lowery like he did, I thought that ain't bad for one of the frozen chosen.
BLITZER: What a funeral it was today, a remarkable, remarkable day in American history, one many of us will remember for a long time. Up next, should the U.S. media have censored the Prophet Mohammed cartoons? It's our question of the hour. Jack Cafferty is getting swamped with your e-mail. He's going to read some of them. That's coming up.
BLITZER: Let's go right back to Jack Cafferty in New York with "The Cafferty File." Jack?
CAFFERTY: Should the media have censored this cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed that shows a lit fuse coming out of his turban? That's the source of all the rioting in the Islamic world. Lots of response.
Judith in Garrison, New York: You don't see the cartoon on most of the T.V. networks or on most of the newspapers. If your viewers were able to see what all the fuss is supposedly about, they would have a far greater understanding of how a large population, the Muslims, is being manipulated. Your refusal to show the cartoon to your viewers is totally a business decision by the higher ups. And I can't say I blame them. What dark days of American journalism.
Leanne in Frederick, Maryland: Jack, negatively depicting any religious deity for any reason is crossing an ethical and moral line. It's my understanding this cartoon served no other purpose than to belittle the Prophet Mohammed and the Muslim community.
Jane in Appleton, Wisconsin: The cartoons absolutely should be run in U.S. newspapers. After all, this is a news story. U.S. papers don't hesitate to run stories, pictures, cartoons, et cetera, that offend Christians and Jews. "Rolling Stone" is currently running a picture of Kanye West depicting himself as Jesus Christ. That's offensive, but it doesn't stop it from being run in American publications. Muslims need to learn how to react to things in a civilized manner. Their reaction only plays into the stereotype of Muslims.
Paul in Park City, Utah: Of course the media should show the cartoon. Are we really turning into the country of just endless talk about the free speech? Just talking about the courage and accuracy of the media, does the spine mean anything anymore? You all in media should be ashamed of yourselves.
And Tony in Eldersburg, Maryland: After trying to understand and empathize with the Muslim people, I have reached the end of my rope. There have been countless beheadings videotaped and circulated on the Internet without virtually any condemnation from the Muslim community whatsoever. Then a cartoon comes out, a cartoon, depicting Mohammed as a terrorist and the Muslims start burning Western embassies and go into a maniacal rampage which will certainly end in more senseless deaths.
BLITZER: Jack, see you tomorrow, thank you very much.
The Internet is changing the dimensions of this story. Abbi Tatton is joining us now with more. Abbi?
ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, the cartoons have been spreading online across the globe. When this Norwegian newspaper last month decided to reprint those cartoons, within hours they appeared. This Bahraini bloggers site, along with a discussion of their content.
The question now for media organizations is whether to publish them or not. This German newspaper did last week on its Web site. At the "Guardian," a U.K. publication, they decided instead to direct people away to an external site to actually see the cartoons.
But whether, whatever the news outlets decide to do online, the cartoons are out there and they are being discussed heavily. This site, Technorati, that shows what's being discussed online, shows they are the top three stories right now -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Abbi, thank you very much. The controversy over the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed is taking a toll on Danish companies. Ali Velshi is in New York. He's got the "Bottom Line." Ali?
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: And as Tom Foreman was saying earlier, this boycott is spreading through a lot of countries. Take a look at what's happening because of those Danish cartoons originally.
VELSHI (voice-over): Lego is getting caught up in a major international stumbling block, the protests over the controversial cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. You see, Lego toys come from Denmark, and unfortunately for Lego, and for other big-name companies likes Carlsberg, which sells non-alcoholic beer in the region and for stereo maker Bang & Olufsen, it was a Danish newspaper that first published the offending cartoon. The problem? A grassroots boycott of all things Danish is now under way in more than a dozen Gulf states. But other than Iran, whose president has called for a boycott, other Middle Eastern governments haven't gotten involved. Danish companies export more than $1 billion a year to the Middle East.
HENRIETTE SOELVTOFT, CONFERENCE OF DANISH INDUSTRIES: It has had a big impact for the individual companies so far, but it's difficult to come up with a qualified guess in terms of exact numbers when you're talking about lost export.
VELSHI: Arla Foods, the big producer of Denmark's famed Havarti cheese, says the boycott is costing about $2 million a day in lost sales.
Even Nestle is feeling the pinch, and it's not even Danish. It's Swiss. Nestle has taken out newspaper ads in Saudi Arabia, reminding people that its products are neither made in nor imported from Denmark.
VELSHI: Well, from time to time, Wolf, informal boycotts gain steam in Middle Eastern countries. Most recently, general anti- American sentiment has resulted in sales drops for companies like Coke, but those boycotts haven't had much staying power, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Ali, for that. Ali Velshi with the bottom line.
Up next, four United States Marines fallen in Iraq. We have the news from what's going on there. Plus other headlines. All that coming up.
BLITZER: Let's head back to the CNN Center in Atlanta for Betty Nguyen, a closer look at some other stories making news around the world -- Betty.
NGUYEN: Hi, Wolf. A pair of bombs tore through a central Baghdad market today, killing at least three people. Some 20 others were wounded. Now, the bombs were timed to go off just minutes apart, with the second probably intended to target first responders.
And the U.S. military today reported the deaths of five Marines. Four died in roadside bombings west of Baghdad yesterday and Sunday. The fifth death is not combat-related.
2,257 American troops had now died in the Iraq war.
Well, the polls have just closed in Haiti. Long lines, organizational problems and sporadic violence marred its first election since the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide two years ago. At least three people were reported killed. Nevertheless, turnout was said to be heavy, and residents of the impoverished nation hope the elections will bring stability. Official results may not be known for several days.
Israel's acting prime minister has given his clearest indication to date of his vision for the future shape of Israel. Ehud Olmert says his country should unilaterally withdraw from most West Bank territories, while holding on to the main Israeli settlement blocks, and keeping Jerusalem unified.
Olmert took over for Ariel Sharon when the prime minister suffered a massive stroke in early January. Elections are scheduled for late March -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks, Betty, very much.
Let's find out what's coming up at the top of the hour on "PAULA ZAHN NOW." Hi, Paula.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Wolf. Just about four minutes from now, an exclusive look inside a marriage that from the outside seemed picture-perfect, until a young wife and her baby daughter were shot to death. Tonight, one of Rachel Entwistle's close friends talks about what was going on behind closed doors.
Plus, an eye-opening look at the Mexican clinic where Coretta Scott King died. Did you know that the man who started it wasn't even a doctor, or that other patients have died there as well? The results of an eye-opening investigation just about three and a half minutes from now -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, thanks very much, Paula. "PAULA ZAHN NOW," coming up at the top of the hour.
Still ahead, Hollywood goes nude for the cover of "Vanity Fair." Our hot shots coming up next.
BLITZER: Here is a look at some of the hot shots coming in from our friends over at the Associated Press, pictures likely to be in your hometown newspapers tomorrow.
Lithonia, Georgia. Four presidents and a senator, an historic gathering for the funeral of Coretta Scott King.
Indonesia. Scientists there have discovered what they're calling a lost world in an isolated jungle. So far, dozens of new species of frogs, butterflies and plants have been found.
Back in the United States, it's the "Vanity Fair" Hollywood issue that's raising eyebrows. Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley posed nude for the magazine's cover, shot by Annie Leibovitz.
And Half Moon Bay, California. Riding 40-foot waves at Mavericks. The three-time Mavericks champion Darryl "Flea" Virostko, wiped out.
Some of today's hot shots, pictures often worth a thousand words. That's all the time we have today. Let's send it up to New York, Paula Zahn getting ready to pick up our coverage -- Paula.
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