26 March, 2010

Malaysia Muslims protest Muhammad cartoon :"Take some lessons from 9/11!!!"

Over 500 Muslims gathered at the Swedish embassy today to voice their protest against three Swedish dailies for allegedly "insulting Prophet Muhammad".

They gathered at the embassy after Friday prayers led by Islamist party PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan and National Malay Students Federation (GPMS) president Jais Abdul Karim.

Both leaders submitted a two-page memorandum of protest to the embassy official.

The protesters burned a Swedish flag outside the Swedish embassy, chanting "Long live Islam" and "Down with Sweden" and carrying posters that read "Take some lessons from 9/11!!!" and "We fight for our prophet."

They also burned a picture of Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who made the drawing of Muhammad's head on a dog's body in 2007 that was reprinted in papers recently.

"We demand that the Swedish government take strong action against the newspapers and against the artist," said Sabki Yusof, one of the protest leaders from the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party. "It's unacceptable what they did to our prophet."

Swedish ambassador Helena Sangeland called for more dialogue with Muslims for better mutual understanding but said no action would be taken against the papers. She said she was "very disappointed" that the Swedish flag was burned.

"The Swedish government will not comment nor take any action against media. Freedom of expression is enshrined in our constitution. It is not negotiable," she told The Associated Press. "I don't think Malaysia-Sweden bilateral relations will be affected in any way."

The controversy started when a Swedish regional daily published cartoonist Lars Vilks' satirical cartoon in 2007, which prompted protests by Muslims in the country while Egypt, Iran and Pakistan made formal complaints.

An al-Qaeda front organisation had offered US100,000 to anyone who murdered Vilks, with an extra 50,000 if his throat was slit.

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