Danish Muslim Cartoon Protests Kill
Four people have died in riots protesting the Danish Muslim cartoons, BBC reports.
Four people have died as demonstrations against cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad intensify. Three people were killed when police in Afghanistan fired on protesters after a police station came under attack, a government spokesman said. In Somalia, a 14-year-old boy was shot dead and several others were injured after protesters attacked the police.
Demonstrations have also been taking place in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Iran and Gaza. They followed attacks on Danish embassies in Syria and Lebanon over the weekend. The cartoons were first published in a Danish newspaper.
Monday’s deaths were thought to be the first, but officials in Lebanon have now confirmed that a demonstrator died on Sunday after jumping from the third floor of the Danish embassy in Beirut to escape a fire.
So far, at least, most of the deaths have been among the protestors rather than innocent victims. (It’s not clear from the report what the status of the Somali boy was, although at 14 his culpability would be limited.)
[Update: The actual number of dead is six, according to the AP.]
Afghan security forces opened fire on demonstrators Monday, leaving at least four dead, as increasingly violent protests erupted around the world over published caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. European and Muslim politicians pleaded for calm. The worst of the violence was outside Bagram, the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, with Afghan police firing on some 2,000 protesters as they tried to break into the heavily guarded facility, said Kabir Ahmed, the local government chief. Two demonstrators were killed and five were injured, while eight police also were hurt, he said. No U.S. troops were involved in the clashes, the military said.
Afghan police also fired on protesters in the central city of Mihtarlam after a man in the crowd shot at them and others threw stones and knives, Interior Ministry spokesman Dad Mohammed Rasa said. Two protesters were killed, and three other people were wounded, including two police, officials said. The demonstrators burned tires and threw stones at government offices.
The unrest also spread to East Africa as police in Somalia fired in the air to disperse stone-throwing protesters, triggering a stampede in which a teenager was killed and raising to six the number of deaths in protests related to the publication of the series of cartoons satirizing Islam’s holiest figure.
Michelle Malkin has plenty of photos and other information rounding up the violent protests.
Zeyno Baran issues a rather bizarre, especially coming from the Counterterrorism Blog, call for appeasement while calling for no appeasement:
If the latest set of incidents in relation to the cartoons is not a wake up call, then I don’t know what will be one. Denmark has been the key target of the radical Islamists, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, for years; they even have a webpage in Danish. In 2002, Fadi Abdel Latif, the spokesman for HT Denmark was already referring to the Koran and urging the killing of Denmarks’ members of the Jewish community. Since then HT Denmark has incited Danish Muslims to kills members of the government and encouraged Muslims to go fight the Americans in Iraq. Denmark like many Western countries has for too long been “tolerating intolerance” which I have been now arguing for many years. They should not have tolerated such incitement to violence. No Western or Muslim government should tolerate people calling for killing of people in the name of their religion—tolerating such statements is appeasing the radicals, and is betraying the more than 90% of Muslims who do not want to be represented by these people who claim to speak in their name.
Similarly, the West also should not have tolerated insulting the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims in the name of “freedom of speech”. Regardless of the initial purpose of publishing the cartoons, once it was made clear to non-Muslims how in the Islamic faith Muslims don’t even portray the face of their Prophet, common sense should have prevailed. Second, in the atmosphere when radical Islamists (those using violence and those who have different tactics) are trying to convince the world’s Muslims that the “war on terror” is really a “war on Islam” and the “Christian world” is united against the “Muslim world” and “we are already in a clash of civilizations” it is extremely depressing to see that over 4 years after 9/11, so few Western leaders, strategists and commentators have understood how these cartoon case was going to be used by the “enemy”—the enemy of not just the “Western civilization” but of those 90% of Muslims.
So, we shouldn’t appease the radicals who call for violence–yet we should appease them by halting any form of speech that they might use to incite violence? Color me confused.
Update: Victor Davis Hanson thinks the Europeans, at least, have woken up.
[S]uddenly in 2006, the Europeans seem to have collectively resuscitated. The Madrid bombings, the murder of Theo van Gogh, the London subway attacks, and the French rioting in October and November seem to have prompted at least some Europeans at last to question their once hallowed sense of multiculturalism in which Muslim minorities were not asked to assimilate at home and Islamic terrorists abroad were seen as mere militants or extremists rather than enemies bent on destroying the West.
On January 19, Jacques Chirac warned that his military would use its nuclear forces to target states that sponsored terrorism against France […] the Europeans pointedly warned the Iranians that further enrichment was unacceptable and that the use of force to prevent acquisition of an Iranian bomb could not be ruled out. A Europe that once dismissed as retrograde America’s anti-ballistic missile system may well soon be in range of Iran’s envisioned nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.
The Dutch suddenly agreed to deploy up to 1,400 troops in the more dangerous regions of southern Afghanistan. That show of fortitude prompted NATO to boast that its European and American forces may soon go on the offensive against many of the most recalcitrant Taliban strongholds.
When a Danish paper was threatened for printing cartoon caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad, neither the government of Demark nor the usually politically-correct European Union tried to impose censorship in the face of Arab boycotts, rioting, and not-so-veiled threats to make life difficult for Scandinavians. Instead, newspapers all over Europe reprinted the cartoons, ignored Arab threats—only to witness the United States State Department of all governments offer limp-wristed palliatives about cultural sensitivity rather than principled support of the surprising European defense of free expression and speech.
Hopeful signs, indeed.
See all of the images in full size at my Danish Muslim Cartoons page.
Related stories below the fold.
Dutch Muslim Cartoon: Anne Frank and Hitler in Bed
Danish Muslim Cartoon Controversy in Context
Danish Embassy in Syria Torched over Muslim Cartoons
Danish Muslim Cartoons ‘Offensive,’ Says U.S. Government
Muslim Day of Anger to Respond to Cartoons
French Editor Fired Over Muhammad Drawings
French and German Papers Republish Danish Cartoons
Danish Newspaper Apologizes for Muslim Cartoons