He didn't come out and say "I'm sorry" as Michelle Malkin points out. But he may has well have given the tone of his remarks:
Former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday he would pay close attention to religious sensibilities in his new role as NATO chief in comments aimed at allaying Muslim concerns at his appointment.
Turkey had threatened to veto Rasmussen’s appointment over his handling of a 2006 crisis triggered by cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Mohammad in a Danish newspaper. His comments fell short of the outright apology which Turkish officials had hoped for.
“I respect Islam as one of the world’s major religions as well as its religious symbols,” Rasmussen said during a panel discussion at an Istanbul conference aimed at building bridges between the Muslim world and the West…
…”I was deeply distressed that the cartoons were seen by many Muslims as an attempt by Denmark to mark and insult or behave disrespectively toward Islam or the Prophet Mohammad. Nothing could be further from my mind,” Rasmussen said…
…”During my tenure as the secretary general of NATO I will pay close attention to the religious and cultural sensibilities of the different communities that populate our increasingly pluralistic and globalized world,” Rasmussen said.
At the expense of western values regarding freedom of speech, of course. And there's the rub. There literally is no western leader now who will stand up and unequivocally defend westerns traditions and values against those whose grievance mongering threatens their very foundation.
Michael van der Galien sums it up:
Rasmussen should have stuck to his guns. He has nothing to apologize nor to ’sympathize’ for. The cartoons were printed by a newspaper, not by his government. It is sad that many felt insulted by them, but it is even sadder that mobs in Indonesia and Arab countries took the streets, boycotted Danish products, and attacked its embassies.
It was not an open, outright apology, but it is hard if not impossible to interpret it differently than a political one.
An apology for a non-offense according to our traditions and values is what should matter. While it is always good to respect the sensibilities of others it is never alright to sacrifice your principles in the face of intimidation.
And that's exactly what Rasmussen did.