Protests Over Cartoons Spread to Asia

February 6, 2006

Source: Voice of America

On February 6, 2006 Voice of America reported, "Fresh protests erupted Monday across Asia against cartoons depicting the Islamic Prophet Mohammed. At least two protesters are reported dead in Afghanistan in clashes with security forces... Officials and lawmakers in neighboring Pakistan call the cartoons blasphemous, and say they have disappointed the entire Muslim world. They condemn their publication as an unacceptable act on what they call the pretext of freedom of the press. Speaking to reporters in Islamabad, Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz gave his reaction. 'No civilized society should ever make fun or demean another faith,' he said. 'If we want to build a peaceful world, and build interfaith harmony, such acts like the cartoons, which were published in Europe, does not add to that. In fact, it complicates matters'... Witnesses in India say riot police fired tear gas and water cannons at hundreds of students protesting the publication of the cartoons. At least four students were reported injured, and police are said to have detained at least 12 protesters. Protests also raged in Indonesia, with the world's largest Muslim population, where police reportedly fired warning shots to disperse demonstrators in the country's second largest city, Surabaya."