Peaceful protest in London over Mohammed cartoons
Yesterday about five thousand Muslims rallied in London to protest cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammad in an unfavourable manner. They were also speaking out against islamic radicalism as displayed in earlier protests in Britain and elsewhere. Many marched under the British flag (as seen in this photo from The Scotsman).
- 'This is the Muslim community,' said the rally chairman, Anaf Altikriti, of the Muslim Association of Britain. 'Not a handful of people claiming vile things like those last Friday.' He was referring to protesters who took to the streets of London with placards embracing al-Qaeda and calling for the beheading of non-believers.
In defiance of the more violent protesters the week before, many held Union flags. One group of girls from east London each had one beside their banner. 'We are proud to be British,' said Najia Farhana. 'Muslims are proud to be British. The idea that we are not is a misconception.'
Her friend, Sumayah Razzak, said they had come there to defend the honour of Muhammad: 'But we are against all violence and hatred and also condemn those evil reactions. We are hear to show Muslims are peaceful.'
Nearby, David Spring, a white man with a shaved head, held one side of a Union flag while a Muslim man held another. 'I am here to show that I agree with peaceful protest,' said Spring. 'I don't understand the true feelings that the cartoon has aroused but I was angry about last week's protests so have come to support this different kind of protest.'
I have not read any stories of flags being burned in Trafalgar Square yesterday, in contrast to the incidents of Friday, 3 February, when Danish flags were burned outside the Embassy of Denmark in London. There were only a few hundred al-Qaeda supporters at the earlier rally/riot, as opposed to the 5,000 who rejected violence yesterday.