02/07/2006, 00.00
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More deaths in the cartoon affair whilst some Muslim leaders urge not targeting "Christians"

In Afghanistan, four people die in the worst incident. Tehran and Damascus are hit by "spontaneous" protests. In Jordan and Yemen, editors are arrested for printing some of the cartoons.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – The cartoons satirising Muhammad continue to provoke waves. Four people died today in Afghanistan as more Muslim governments, including moderate ones like Jordan's, take a stand against the caricatures. At the same time, some voices in the Islamic world are urging restraint against targeting Christians.

The worst incident occurred today when four protesters died in a rally in Maimana (northern Afghanistan) against a Norwegian-led peacekeeping base, which is part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

In Tehran, there were "spontaneous" demonstrations in front of the Danish Embassy with some protesters throwing stones and launching Molotov cocktails. In Yemen's capital of Sanaa, about 5,000 students, some burning Danish flags, marched on the UN offices in protest against Denmark. In Damascus, posters went up around the city urging people to gather before the French Embassy to protest.

In Jordan, parliament called for an end to imports from where the controversial cartoons were published and for cancelling all agreements signed with those countries. During the parliamentary debate, some lawmakers called for legal action to be taken against the editors of Jordan-based Al-Mehwar and Shihane, two of the three publications in the Muslim world that published some of the cartoons. The editors, who were arrested and released on Sunday, were re-arrested on Monday night.

The editor and publisher of Yemen-based Al-Hurya, the third paper that dared print some cartoons, are also in hot water. The country's Justice Ministry has issued a warrant for their arrest.

In Chechnya, the staff of the Danish Refugee Council—a Danish humanitarian organisation—was expelled. Chechen Deputy Prime Minister Khalid Vaikhanov said the move was taken as a result of the "reaction in the Muslim world and Chechnya to the cartoons".

Iran's supreme leader, ayatollah Khamenei, said that although the protests are justified and even holy, "[i]t should be noted that the sacred fury of Muslims was not directed towards Christians. It rather targeted the vicious plotters of the conspiracy . . . ," that is the "threat posed by the Zionists to pit Muslims and Christians against one another".

In Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan urged Muslims to use restraint in their response to the Muhammad cartoons, calling them a provocation designed to show images of violence coming form the Islamic world.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urged Muslims to accept the apologies made by the Danish government over the satirical depiction of Muhammad.

In Lebanon, Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir slammed rioting in a Christian neighbourhood and the ransacking of some churches on Sunday in a press statement released after he received a delegation led by the Grand Mufti of Lebanon, Mohammad Rashid Kabbani, who denounced acts by people who are "far from Islam" and expressed solidarity with Christians.

In Damascus, Greek-Melkite Patriarch Gregorious III Lahham condemned all acts of violence. He stressed the need for a fresh start based "on mutual tolerance and forgiveness between Christians and Muslims, because no religion teaches war, violence and fanaticism."

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Al-Qaeda casts its shadow over cartoon protests
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