Protests erupt across the Muslim world

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The Independent Online

Mass protests have erupted across much of the Muslim world against the war in Lebanon, prompting louder and more desperate calls for a ceasefire from governments fearful of a popular backlash.

Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who leads the world's most populous Muslim nation, said: "This war must stop now, or it will radicalise the Muslim world, even those of us who are moderate today. It is just one step from there to a clash of civilisations."

Malaysia offered to deploy 1,000 peacekeeping troops to monitor any cease-fire. Peaceful demonstrations took place in Indonesia, the Philippines and Bangladesh, while Pakistan's parliament unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the attacks and demanding an immediate ceasefire.

These protests were dwarfed yesterday, the Muslim sabbath, by demonstrations in Baghdad, where hundreds of thousands of Shia thronged the streets to voice their support for Hizbollah as Arab anger toward Israel mounted. Such protests have even reached Saudi Arabia, where public displays of discontent are rare. Strict state control limited the scale of protest in Cairo and Damascus in comparison with the turnout in Baghdad, organised by the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Crowds of Sadr supporters from across Iraq's Shia heartland converged on the capital's Sadr City district, chanting "death to Israel, death to America".

Egyptian police detained more than 100 Islamists involved in protests against Israel, police and the opposition Muslim Brotherhood said. Groups of Egyptians have organised protests against Israel, the US and the Egyptian government almost daily since the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah began on 12 July.

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