02/06/2006, 00.00

Indonesian Muslims protest cartoons of Prophet Mohammed

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gather in front of the Danish embassy in Jakarta; protests also in other cities.  The Indonesian president joins in criticism, but invites the population to accept Denmark's apology.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) -  Hundreds of Indonesian Muslims took to streets Monday in several cities across the world's most populous Muslim nation to condemn the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, joining in the wave of protest sweeping the Islamic world.

In Jakarta, about 400 followers of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) rallied outside the Danish embassy, demanding an apology from the Danish government to Muslims around the world.

"We demand an apology from the Danish premier to Muslims around the world," said Taufik Wijaya, who led the rally.

Contained protests took place in other cities, following the governments convocation of the Danish Ambassador.  In West Java's capital of Bandung, more than 1,000 Muslim activists rallied outside the provincial legislature to demand the Indonesian government cut off diplomatic ties with Denmark, Elshinta private radio reported that the Bandung protesters had also set a Danish flag on fire.

In Ambon, the capital of the eastern Indonesian province of Maluku, scores of Muslim students and youths took to the streets to denounce the publication of the caricatures. They threatened to launch a sweep against all Danish products sold at shops in the city.

There were no reports of violence in Monday's protests in Indonesia, where more rallies were expected in the coming days.

While condemning the drawings as insensitive to Muslims' beliefs, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called over the weekend on Muslims in the country to accept the apology from the Danish government.

In a statement issued in the Indonesian language by the Danish embassy in Jakarta, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen last week apologized to Indonesians for the publication of the cartoons.

Indonesia is the worlds largest Muslim nation: over 90% of its' 220 million inhabitants are of  followers of Islam.  


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See also
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Protests against "blasphemous" cartoons mounts in Islamic nations
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