Cartoon row: Group calls for end to protests
An estimated 2,500 people gathered outside Ontario's capital building to protest the Prophet cartoons.Updated: Feb 20, 2006 09:26 IST
An estimated 2,500 people gathered outside Ontario's capital building to protest the published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, but one Muslim group is calling for an end to the demonstrations.
The large, diverse crowd ignored cold-weather warnings to attend the protest and grimaced through a bitter wind, waving flags and holding up placards for hours on Sunday.
They called for an end to the publication of the cartoons and respect for their religion and their people.
While police said Toronto's protest was peaceful and without incident -- as was another on Saturday in downtown Vancouver -- the Muslim Canadian Congress said the time has come for the demonstrations to stop because they are inflaming tensions around the world.
Congress spokesman Tarek Fatah said the protests are being used by Islamic extremists as motivation to spread violence.
"We understand the pain and the hurt of the Muslim community but I am urging Muslims around the world to understand the repercussions of their actions, that their pain has been usurped by Islamic extremists," he said.
At least 45 people have died during protests around the world since the controversy erupted about three weeks ago.
Fatah said Muslims should follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad, who urged restraint and calmness in the wake of provocation.
First Published: Feb 20, 2006 09:26 IST