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Protests mount over Prophet?s caricature

THE CONTROVERSY generated by the publications of Prophet Muhammad?s caricature seemed snowballing into a major international issue with violent protests in the Islamic world on Sunday.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 14:12 IST

THE CONTROVERSY generated by the publications of Prophet Muhammad’s caricature seemed snowballing into a major international issue with violent protests in the Islamic world on Sunday.

A priest was shot dead in Turkey. Angry demonstrators set the Danish consulate in Beirut ablaze today, while Syrians set fire to the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus yesterday.

Other developments

Hundreds of people rally in Afghanistan in protest at the caricatures

Jordanian authorities arrest two tabloid editors for printing the caricatures

Iran recalls its ambassador to Denmark

The caricature first appeared in a Danish newspaper and were reprinted in other European countries. There were also reports of outrage from South Africa, Bangladesh, UK, Afghanistan and other parts of world.

Thousands of people attended a rally and clashes broke out with security forces sent to protect the building. Denmark urged its citizens in Lebanon to leave the country as soon as possible. The country also called on Arab leaders to help curb an escalation of Muslim anger over publication of the cartoons.

“The Danish government urges all leaders, political and religious, in the countries concerned to call on their populations to remain calm and refrain from violence,” Denmark’s Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller told a news conference. He described the situation as ‘serious’.

Bangladesh requested the Danish government to apoligise for the insult and anger caused by the publication of caricatures.“We’ve urged the government of Denmark to take necessary measures to stop recurrence of such heinous act. We’ve requested them to tender apology to diffuse the sense of insult and anger created following the incident,” Bangladesh Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan said in the Parliament.

An Iraqi militant group in the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi calls for attacks on Danish and non-Muslim targets in Iraq. In Johannesburg, media groups reacted strongly to a restriction by a court on the publication of the caricatures by a local newspaper group.

Moulana Ebrahim Bham of the Jamiatul Ulema of Transvaal welcomed the court’s decision and called on local Muslims - who had threatened drastic action similar to that by Muslims in Syria — to exercise calm as the matter was being dealt with..

The US criticised Syria’s approach, saying it was ‘inexcusable’ for such damage to be inflicted on diplomatic missions. An Italian Roman Catholic priest was shot dead in his church in the Turkish Black Sea city of Trabzon today, police said.

They gave no more details, but CNN Turk television said police were looking for a young man aged about 17 years old seen fleeing the scene.

CNN Turk showed a small crowd of onlookers near the Santa Maria church where the priest was killed. The state Anatolian news agency identified the dead man as Andrea Santaro, aged 60.

First Published: Feb 06, 2006 14:12 IST