Canada’s Uyghurs Respond to Chinese Crackdown

Uyghur-Canadians are banding together to protest the recent crackdown by Chinese authorities on demonstrations in their homeland, events that have been an “awakening” for the tiny community. Nearly all of the Toronto 120 Uyghurs demonstrated outside the Chinese consulate in Toronto while another 30 of Alberta’s Uyghurs gathered at the Chinese consulate in Calgary. The Toronto group was joined by a few dozen supporters, mostly from the region’s Turkish community. The Uyghurs are a Muslim people of Turkic descent who have a long history in a part of northwestern China bordered by Mongolia and Kazakhstan in the north and India in the south.

French daily newspaper Libération charts a similar response of 50 Uyghurs who protested in Paris.

Protests continue in Afghanistan over Dutch film and Danish cartoons; demand troop withdrawal

Thousands of Afghanis demonstrated last weekend in Western Afghanistan, shouting slogans against Denmark and the Netherlands for alleged insults against Islam, concerning the re-printing of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in Danish newspapers, and the upcoming release of an anti-Quran film by a Dutch lawmaker. An estimated 10,000 people took part in the protest, where shouts were heard of Death to Denmark for insulting our prophet” and “Death to the Netherlands for insulting our religion.” Protesters torched flags of each nation, and said that Kabul must sever ties with the Dutch and Danish governments, including the expulsion of their troops serving with a NATO-led force to tackle extremist insurgency.

The rise of mosques becomes catalyst for conflict across Europe

Protests and demonstrations against the erection of new mosques throughout Europe are serving as catalysts for greater tensions at hand. Dissenters cite mosques as working against integration with religious-only instruction, while others cite mosques as a visible symbol of wanting to exist in the greater social surroundings. Others are merely angry over the visible display of religiosity and different Islamic architecture.

Plan for Arabic School in Brooklyn Spurs Protests

The Khalil Gibran International Academy was conceived as a public embrace of New York City’s growing Arab population and of internationalism, the first public school dedicated to the study of the Arabic language and culture and open to students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. But nearly three months after plans for the middle school were first announced, a beleaguered Department of Education is fending off attacks from two angry camps: parents from Public School 282, the elementary school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, that was assigned to share building space with the Khalil Gibran school, and a handful of columnists who have called the proposed academy a madrassa, which teaches the Koran. Now the chancellor of schools, Joel I. Klein, is considering other locations for the school, or even postponing the opening for a year, according to several people involved in the discussions, and the whole endeavor has been turned into a test of tolerance – and its limits – in post-9/11, multiethnic New York.

Mosque in Pankow Being Built Despite Protests

Despite the protests of residents, the mosque in the Pankow section of Berlin will be built. Police were forced to end an overcrowded citizens gathering about the mosque, but the meeting will be rescheduled. Berlin (ddp-bln). Trotz Protesten von Anwohnern sieht die Ahmadiyya Muslim Gemeinde keinen Grund, von ihren Baupl_nen f_r eine Moschee in Pankow-Heinersdorf abzur_cken. Das berichtet die _Berliner Zeitung_ (Wochenendausgabe). _Wir halten daran fest, in Heinersdorf zu bauen_, sagte der Imam der Ahmadiyya Muslim Gemeinde in Berlin, Abdul Basit Tariq, der Zeitung. Am Donnerstagabend musste die Polizei eine B_rgerversammlung, auf der _ber den Bau informiert werden sollte, vorzeitig beenden, weil Anwohner gedroht hatten, den _berf_llten Saal zu st_rmen. Der Bezirk Pankow will jetzt eine zweite Versammlung organisieren, diesmal in der Max-Schmeling-Halle in Prenzlauer Berg. Ein Termin daf_r steht jedoch noch nicht fest.

Annan Says Protests Over Cartoons Being Fuelled By Extremists

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said protests over cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad that resulted in violent demonstrations by Muslims around the world are being fuelled by extremism. “Those who shout loudest or act in the most provocative ways, are not necessarily typical of the group on whose behalf they claim to speak,” Annan said yesterday, according to the UN’s Web site. “We must appeal to the majority to speak up and denounce those who disrespect values.” Religious and other leaders must promote discussion between Islamic and Western societies, Annan told a meeting in Qatar of the High-Level Group for the Alliance of Civilizations, a panel he set up last year to bridge gaps between Islam and the West. Protests have taken place in countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia and Turkey since newspapers in Europe earlier this month reprinted cartoons first published in September in Denmark. Any visual depiction of Muhammad is considered blasphemy, according to the teachings of Islam. One of the cartoons depicts Muhammad wearing a bomb in place of a turban. More than 20,000 people attended a rally yesterday in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi, the latest in a series of protests in the country over the cartoons, Agence France-Presse reported. At least five people have been killed in violence during rallies in Pakistan. Pakistan Arrests Police detained several political leaders in Lahore yesterday to prevent a protest march taking place. They included Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the head of a six-party alliance of Islamic groups in Pakistan, and Imran Khan, a former captain of Pakistan’s cricket team, who formed the Movement for Justice Party, AFP said. The 12 cartoons were first published in Denmark’s largest broadsheet, Jyllands-Posten in September. They were reprinted earlier this month in France, Norway, Austria, Germany and other counties sparking Muslim protests. Editors in European countries said they were defending freedom of expression by reprinting the cartoons. Carsten Juste, editor-in-chief at the Aarhus-based Jyllands-Posten, apologized for offending Muslims in a statement on the newspaper’s Web site Jan. 31. Violent protests earlier this month left at least 11 people dead in Libya, 16 people killed in Nigeria and 11 in Afghanistan. “Some of the violent reactions have encouraged extremist groups within European societies, whose agenda is to demonize Muslim immigrants or even expel them,” Annan said, according to the UN. “The republication of the cartoons, and the support for them voiced by some leaders in Europe, have strengthened those in the Muslim world who see Europe, or the West as a whole, as irredeemably hostile to Islam and encourage Muslims to always see themselves as victims.” Left to Extremists Without the efforts of groups such as the High-Level panel, the exchanges between Islam and the West will be left to extremists, Annan said. Retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and theologians such as Ismali Serageldin of Egypt and Mehmet Aydin of Turkey are among the members of the panel. Annan two weeks ago called on Muslims to refrain from violence over the cartoons. Muslims should accept the apology given by the Danish newspaper, he said Feb. 5.

Former President Clinton Says Cartoon Protests Have Wasted an Opportunity

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) – Bill Clinton says he thinks Muslims have “squandered” an opportunity to build bridges to the West. The former president today denounced the violent protests that have rocked the Muslim world in recent weeks. The cartoons depicting Muhammad were first published in Denmark last fall but have since sparked destructive riots, including protests aimed at the U-S. Clinton commented during a visit to Pakistan, one of the countries rocked by violence.

Protests Over Cartoons In Pakistan Turn Deadly

LAHORE, Pakistan – Thousands of protesters rampaged through two cities Tuesday, storming into a diplomatic district and torching Western businesses and a provincial assembly in Pakistan’s worst violence against the Prophet Muhammad drawings, officials said. At least two people were killed and 11 injured. Security forces fired into the air as they struggled to contain the unrest in the eastern city of Lahore, where protesters burned down four buildings housing a hotel, two banks, a KFC restaurant and the office of a Norwegian cell phone company, Telenor. U.S. and British embassy staffers were confined to their compounds until police dispersed the protesters, some of whom chanted, “Death to America!” Witnesses said rioters also damaged more than 200 cars, dozens of shops and a large portrait of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Vandals broke the windows of a Holiday Inn, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s. Two movie theaters were torched, and clouds of tear gas and black smoke from burning vehicles outside Citibank and Metropolitan Bank branches drifted through streets in the city center. A security guard shot and killed two protesters trying to force their way into a bank, Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao said, adding that paramilitary forces were deployed to restore order. Mohammed Tariq, a doctor at the state-run Mayo Hospital, said three people were being treated for serious bullet wounds, and eight more suffered injuries during clashes with police. The protest was organized by a little-known religious group supported by local trade associations and one of the main Islamic schools in the city. Intelligence officials, however, suspected that members of outlawed Islamic radical groups may have incited the violence. Raja Mohammed Basharat, law minister for Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital, said the organizers promised Monday that the demonstration would be peaceful. No one has been arrested for the violence, but those responsible would be punished, he said. The unrest began Tuesday in the nation’s capital, Islamabad, about 180 miles northwest of Lahore, when between 1,000 and 1,500 people, mostly students, marched into a fenced-off diplomatic enclave through the main gate, as about a dozen police looked on. The stick-wielding crowd charged about a half-mile down the road to the British High Commission, or embassy, where the students rallied briefly until police fired tear gas. Outside the enclave, protesters smashed street lights and burned tires while chanting “Death to America!” and other slogans. Police rounded up about 50 protesters and put them in pickup trucks. Another protest in Islamabad drew about 4,000 people. Separately, about 50 lawmakers from religious and moderate parties marched from Parliament to the diplomatic enclave, where they stood silently for five minutes before dispersing. Hard-line cleric Hafiz Hussain Ahmad, senior leader of an opposition coalition of six religious parties, said, “We have come to the doors of the embassies to take our voice to the ambassadors. There is anger in the Islamic world. If they do not listen, their problems will increase.” People in this conservative Muslim nation have been enraged by the publications of the drawings, which first appeared in a Danish newspaper in September. Papers in other countries, mostly Europe but including some in the United States, reprinted them. One of the caricatures depicts Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with an ignited detonator string. Islam widely holds that representations of Muhammad are banned for fear they could lead to idolatry. In Copenhagen, Denmark, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the uproar posed the biggest foreign policy challenge to his nation since World War II. Fogh Rasmussen said it would take time to defuse the crisis, which he called “a very considerable task.” “We don’t see the solution around the corner,” he said. “We find ourselves in the biggest foreign policy challenge Denmark has faced since World War II.” The Danish government has said it cannot apologize for the actions of an independent newspaper. A Danish Muslim leader said his group would accept part of the blame for the international protests, but he insisted the group took its complaints to the Middle East because Denmark’s government would not listen. Ahmad Akkari, 28, told The Associated Press his network was willing to accept one-third of the responsibility for the firestorm, if the government and the Danish paper that first published the drawings shared the rest. “Let’s say we bear one-third of the responsibility. Could the other two parts not take their responsibility?” Akkari said in an interview at a mosque in northern Copenhagen. There have been a series of mostly peaceful protests across Pakistan against the cartoons, and last week Parliament adopted resolutions condemning the drawing. Lawmakers also called for a nationwide strike on March 3. But Aitzaz Ahsan, a lawmaker with the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, said he will propose that the government call off the March 3 protest strike because of the prospect of further violence. “It’s really gotten out of hand,” Ahsan said. “The violence is spiraling out of control.”

Another Round of Protests Rock London

Another round of protests were yesterday held at Denmark’s Embaasy, located at Sloaone Street, by Muslims protesting a newspaper’s cartoon’s caricature of Prohet Mohammed (SAW). The protests were held amdist tight security, but no arrest was made. Saturday’s demonstration was organised by the Muslim group known as the Hizb ut-Tahrir. It was more restrained than the one on Friday, where protesters called for more atrocities like the July 7 bombings and burned the Danish flag. The Police estimated the crowd at between 500 and 700.