Danish film director ANNETTE OLESEN claims her country "threw the first stone" in the Muhammed cartoons row by publishing images which attacked their Muslim community.

Oleson, who is screening her racially-charged film ONE TO ONE at the Berlin International Film Festival, told German newspaper Tagesspiegel that freedom of speech does not justify the offensive printing of the cartoons, which have caused outrage across the Muslim world.

She says, "We, the ethnic Danes, threw the first stone. At a minority. Minorities are not in power.

"Many people are now making reference to the long Danish tradition of satire, but when we look at old history books and we see anti-Semitic Nazi caricatures, we don't find them funny."

"Thirty years ago everybody would turn around and stare at a black person.

"But then a lot of immigrants started coming from Turkey and Pakistan. Suddenly there were Arabs. But Danes are shy and not very curious. We have not understood that we are now a multi-ethnic society and that there is no turning back."

The 12 cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammed were first published in Danish daily newspaper Jyllands Posten and have subsequently been reprinted by a number of European publications.