Thousands of Afghans protest Prophet cartoons

Demonstrators shout "Death to Denmark" and "Death to America" over Dutch decision to reprint controversial Mohammed cartoon.

muslim protest 298 88 (photo credit: AP)
muslim protest 298 88
(photo credit: AP)
Thousands of Afghans demonstrated Saturday in western Afghanistan, shouting angry slogans against Denmark and the Netherlands for alleged insults against Islam, police said. Thousands of people walked through the city of Herat on their way to its main sports stadium, where speakers denounced Denmark for reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, and the Netherlands, where a lawmaker plans to release a short film about Islam, police spokesman Noor Kahn Nekzad said. He estimated that more than 10,000 people took part in the protest. An Associated Press reporter estimated there were about 5,000 protesters. Demonstrators shouted "Death to Denmark for insulting our prophet" and "Death to the Netherlands for insulting our religion." They also shouted "Death to America." Last month, in a gesture of solidarity, Denmark's leading newspapers reprinted a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad after Danish police said they had uncovered a plot to kill the artist, whose drawing was one of 12 cartoons that sparked deadly riots across the Muslim world in 2006. The reprinting triggered another wave of protests in Islamic countries in recent weeks. The protesters were also angered by an upcoming short film by right-wing Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders that reportedly portrays the Quran as a "fascist book." Afghanistan is a Muslim nation where criticism of the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran is a serious crime that carries the death sentence. Last week more than 200 Afghan lawmakers gathered at the parliament, shouting "Death to the enemies of Islam" and urging the Danish and Dutch governments to prevent blasphemy against Islam.