Angry protests over newspaper cartoons of the prophet Mohammad continued to spread globally on Friday as Muslim leaders and politicians in Europe expressed mounting concern that the outrage could destabilise the multicultural continent.
In Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, protesters stormed the lobby of the Jakarta high-rise building housing the Danish embassy. Other incidents and protests were reported from Pakistan to the Darfur region of Sudan and the Palestinian territories, where European Union observers evacuated Danish and French nationals after gunmen had briefly held a German man in the West Bank on Thursday night.
In London, hundreds of Muslims marched from the Regent's Park mosque, one of the biggest Islamic centres in Europe, to the heavily protected Danish embassy, bearing placards declaring “Behead the one who insults the prophet” and “Free speech go to hell”.
The most serious religious clash since the 1989 Salman Rushdie affair erupted last September when Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten published 12 caricatures of Mohammad, the seventh-century founder of Islam, in protest at what it called “the rejection of modern, secular society” by some Muslims.
The debate only boiled over last month when European newspapers began reprinting the cartoons, considered blasphemous by many Muslims, sparking a fresh wave of protests in the Muslim world, including boycotts of Danish products and the recalling of ambassadors to Copenhagen.
Islamik Trossamfund, a small Danish Muslim organisation, has been accused of throwing petrol on the fire after its leaders toured the Middle-East circulating highly offensive pictures of Muslims that had never appeared in the Danish press.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Ghe Financial Times says rage against Denmark is still spreading: