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Thousands of Afghan students protest Danish cartoon of Prophet Muhammad, Dutch movie




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Sunday, March 9, 2008
AP


JALALABAD, Afghanistan -- Thousands of Afghan students chanted slogans and burned Danish and Dutch flags Sunday in the latest in a series of protests over perceived insults to Islam.

The protesters in the eastern city of Jalalabad denounced an upcoming Dutch film that reportedly criticizes Islam's holy book, the Quran. They also condemned Danish newspapers' recent republications of a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban.

The several thousand demonstrators shouted slogans against Denmark and the Netherlands. They also changed "Death to America" and "Long live al-Qaida."

"We don't want Dutch and Danish forces in Afghanistan. If our government does not kick them out, we will continue our demonstrations until they leave Afghanistan," said one protester, university student Qari Ibrahim. "If these forces do not leave, we are prepared to carry out suicide attacks against them."

The demonstration came a day after several thousand people marched in the western city of Herat and shouted angry slogans against Denmark and the Netherlands. Protests have been held in at least six other Afghan cities including the capital, Kabul, where 200 lawmakers shouted "Death to the enemies of Islam" outside the country's parliament Tuesday.

Last month Denmark's leading newspapers reprinted a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad after Danish police said they had uncovered a plot to kill the artist, whose drawing was one of 12 cartoons that sparked deadly riots across the Muslim world in 2006.

The reprinting has triggered another wave of demonstrations in Islamic countries.

The protesters were also angered by an upcoming short film by right-wing Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders that reportedly portrays the Quran as a "fascist book."

Afghanistan is a Muslim nation where criticism of the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran is a crime that is punishable by death. Most Muslims consider any physical representation of Islam's prophet to be blasphemous.



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