KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Tens of thousands of people massed in Pakistan and Turkey on Sunday to protest cartoons of Islam’s Prophet, Muhammad, that have fired anger throughout the Muslim world. Denmark reopened its embassy in Indonesia on Monday, more than three weeks after hard-line Muslims stormed the building and it closed amid widespread protests over the caricatures, which were first published in a Danish newspaper.
About 50,000 people, many chanting “Hang those who insulted the prophet,” rallied Sunday in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi. The protesters burned the Danish flag, hit an effigy of President Bush with a stick and chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Musharraf.” Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf welcomed Bush to Pakistan on Saturday.
Hundreds of policemen in riot gear lined the central Karachi road where the rally was held. There was no violence.
In Turkey, some 20,000 protesters chanting anti-Danish slogans gathered in the eastern city of Erzurum, reports said.
Men and women stood separated by a barrier in the peaceful rally organized by the pro-Islamic Felicity Party, NTV television reported.
The protesters chanted slogans denouncing Denmark and cried “Allah is Great,” the Anatolia news agency said.
In Pakistan, the protest was organized by a coalition of radical Islamic groups opposed to Musharraf and the United States. The alliance, Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal, or United Action Forum, has organized a series of demonstrations against the cartoons, which were reprinted in several other European countries.
One of the 12 drawings shows Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban with a lit fuse. Islamic tradition bars depiction of Muhammad, favorable or otherwise, to prevent idolatry.
Denmark temporarily closed embassies in Indonesia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran in response to the often violent protests. Denmark’s ambassador to Indonesia, Niels Erik Andersen, said Monday that no extra security precautions had been put in place for the reopening.
French President Jacques Chirac told the Saudi parliament Sunday that dialogue was necessary to avoid cultural misunderstandings.
The first foreign leader to speak before the non-elected parliament, Chirac called for “cultivating all opportunities for dialogue to avoid misunderstandings,” and for “redoubling attention and efforts to preserve peace.”
Some cartoon protests in Pakistan have turned deadly and at least five people died in two Pakistani cities in rioting last month.
Radical Islamists in Pakistan oppose Musharraf for his cooperation with the United States in the war on terrorism.
“Both Musharraf and his master Bush are killers of Muslims,” said Maulana Fazlur Rahman, parliamentary opposition leader and a senior figure in the religious alliance.
We appreciate your support
One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at Amazon.com.
Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission — at no additional cost to you — for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this service free of charge.