Protesters storm Danish embassy over cartoons

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Muslim protesters stormed a building housing the Danish Embassy in Indonesia today and burned the nation's flag to protest caricatures of the Prophet Mohamed, as outrage over the drawings rippled across Asia.

Pakistan's parliament unanimously passed a resolution condemning the provocative drawings, as rowdy demonstrators in Malaysia chanted "Destroy our Enemies."

Singapore's top Islamic advisory body said the cartoons were intended to incite hatred.

The 12 cartoons first appeared in a Danish newspaper in September and were reprinted in several European newspapers this week in a gesture of press freedom.

One of the drawings showed Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb. Another portrays him holding a sword, his eyes covered by a black rectangle.

In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, 150 demonstrators pelted the high-rise building housing the Danish Embassy with rotten eggs, then pushed their way past security guards.

Shouting "God is Great," they tried to enter elevators to reach the mission on the building's 25th floor, but were told to stop by protest leaders.

Before leaving the building in the heart of the Indonesian capital's business district, they tore the embassy's flag down and set it on fire on the pavement.

"We are not terrorists, we are not anarchists, but we are against those people who blaspheme Islam," a protester wearing a white Arabic-style robes shouted outside the building.

Islamic tradition bars depictions of the prophet, favorable or otherwise, to prevent idolatry. The drawings have prompted boycotts of Danish goods, bomb threats and demonstrations against Danish facilities in Muslim nations and sparked debate about freedom of speech.

Afghanistan — like Indonesia — has criticized the drawings.

Pakistani lawmakers called them blasphemous before unanimously condemning them, and a coalition of hardline Islamic parties planned street protests in major cities.

"They claim that this is to test free expression. In fact, their intention seems to be to incite Muslim anger unnecessarily," the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore said in a statement.

In mostly-Muslim Malaysia, about 60 members of the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party demonstrated outside Denmark's Embassy in Kuala Lumpur demanding the Danish government stop newspapers from reprinting the drawings.

"It's an uncivilized act, it's heinous," Hanifah Maidin, the party's youth chief, said after submitting a letter of complaint to Danish officials.