Shots fired to disperse Afghan Koran protest in Kabul

October 25, 2009


(Photo: Afghans protest at parliament building in Kabul, 25 Oct 2009/Ahmad Masood)

Afghan police fired into the air on Sunday to break up a protest by thousands of people who had gathered in the capital, Kabul, to protest against what they said was the desecration of a copy of the Koran by foreign troops.

Protesters, claiming foreign forces had burned a copy of Islam’s holiest book during a raid in Maidan Wardak province last week, blocked traffic in Kabul for more than an hour. A spokeswoman for U.S. and NATO-led forces in Afghanistan said none of their troops were involved in the incident and blamed the Taliban for spreading a false rumor that a copy of the Koran had been burned.

Thick plumes of smoke rose above the crowd as protesters set fire to a large effigy of what they said was U.S. President Barack Obama. “Death to America. Down with Israel,” chanted one man at the rally, which was organized mainly by university students. Others threw stones and clashed with police but no casualties were reported.

“No to democracy. We want just Islam,” said one banner carried by protesters, many of whom shook their fists in the air.  Captain Elizabeth Mathias, a media officer for U.S. and NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, said the Taliban were trying to undermine foreign troops by spreading the rumor. “We did not burn a Koran … It is unfortunate that the protesters believe a Taliban rumor,” Mathias said, adding an investigation had been carried out.

Read the full story here. Below is the Reuters video showing what a protest like this looks like:

Follow FaithWorld on Twitter at RTRFaithWorld


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Thanks for posting the video. Is there any translation available for it?

Posted by Darren | Report as abusive

Darren, I don’t have a translation but will see if I can get one. The protesters’ complaints are basically described in the story. All I can catch is at 1:13, where the protester raising his fist into the air to lead the crowd is shouting “death to America, death to Jews” in Persian.

Posted by Tom Heneghan | Report as abusive

But the photos we see of US soldiers with little kids they just gave chocolate to proves they love the occupation doesn’t it..??
The battle for the hearts and minds begins at home.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

[…] Reuters: Afghan police fired into the air on Sunday to break up a protest by thousands of people who had […]

Posted by Muslim Voices » Blog Archive » Afghan Police Fire Shots During Protest Over Burned Quran | Report as abusive