FaithWorld

Shots fired to disperse Afghan Koran protest in Kabul

afghan-koran-protest (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:

Malaysian Muslims charged for cow-head protest against Hindus

cow-head-protestSix Malaysian Muslims have been charged with sedition after they marched with a cow’s head to protest the construction of a Hindu temple in a case that has stirred racial tensions in the country. The men were from a group of about 50 who had marched on Aug. 28 with the head of a cow, which is sacred to Hindus, to protest a plan to build a Hindu temple in their mainly Muslim neighbourhood. (Photo: Protesters stomp on cow’s head, 28 Aug 2009/Samsul Said)

The incident has angered Malaysia’s mainly Hindu Indians who make up 9 percent of this mostly Muslim country of 27 million people.

Analysts say the protest reflected the increasingly difficult task Prime Minister Najib Razak has in narrowing ethnic and religious differences to win back ethnic minorities who abandoned the government in last year’s polls. “The trial shows how precarious race and religious issues still are in Malaysia, and how a small issue like the relocation of a temple can spark off a potential race riot,” said James Chin, a politics professor at Monash University in Kuala Lumpur.