First Published: 2008-02-22

Gazans protest against Mohammed cartoon

Around 200 Palestinians including children demonstrate against Danish newspapers reprinting of cartoon.


Middle East Online


RAFAH, Gaza Strip - Around 200 Palestinians demonstrated in the Gaza Strip on Friday against Danish newspapers that reprinted a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed deemed offensive by Muslims.

They gathered in the southern town of Rafah on the Egyptian border in response to a call from the so-called mini-parliament, an organ of the Fatah party of moderate Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

Children burned Danish, American and Israeli flags and a banner read "to hell with Denmark. We will accept nothing less than an apology and a trial."

Last week, a number of Danish newspapers published the cartoon, vowing to defend freedom of expression a day after Danish police foiled a plot to murder the cartoonist.

The caricature, featuring the prophet's head with a turban that looked like a bomb with a lit fuse, was one of 12 cartoons published in September 2005 by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that sparked bloody riots in the Islamic world.

Hamas, the Islamist group that ousted Fatah from power in Gaza in June, held a demonstration of its own last week.

Speaking to the crowd in the northern town of Jabaliya, Hamas MP Yussef Sharafi called on the Danish government to "apologise to Muslims for the offence to the prophet."

Hamas condemned the newspapers and called for those responsible to be put on trial, saying publication of the cartoon was an "offence to the feelings of tens of millions of Muslims.

"We call for the trial of those responsible for publishing these drawings in the Danish newspapers," Hamas said, demanding that "official apologies be made" to Muslims.

Danish police arrested a Dane of Moroccan origin and two Tunisians suspected of plotting to kill the creator of the turban cartoon, Kurt Westergaard.


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