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Turk Delegation Member to European Commission Tears Down Free Speech Exhibition Image of Mohammed

STRASBOURG, France: A Turkish official ripped a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed out of a mural at the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg, a source at the rights body said Friday.

Dozens of people watched as the official, a member of Turkey’s parliamentary delegation to the Council, removed the image from the mural titled “The Road not Taken” on Wednesday, the source said.

The drawing of Mohammed wearing a bomb instead of a turban – the original of which sparked outrage in the Muslim world when it was published in 2005 by a Danish newspaper – had a banner across the prophet’s face reading “censored.”

Most Muslims consider portraying the prophet in images to be blasphemous.

The work on the theme of freedom of expression, titled “The Road not Taken,” is made up of around 1,000 images.

The mural’s Maltese creator Norbert Attard told the online version of The Malta Independent he had placed the “censored” banner across the cartoon “so that it would not offend anyone.”

The incident occurred as Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was in Strasbourg to address the Council of Europe and open an exhibition on the attempted coup in his country in July.

The head of the Turkish delegation “offered his apologies” over the incident and reprimanded the delegate concerned, the source said, adding that the Council planned to invite the artist to Strasbourg.

The delegate has not been formally named.

The Strasbourg-based Council, a human rights and democracy watchdog body separate from the EU, counts 47 member states.

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