French Cartoon Mocking Prophet Mohamed: Protests Erupt In Afghanistan

 @AmruthaGayathri
on September 20 2012 5:47 AM
Afghan Protest
Afghan protesters shout and hold signs during a demonstration in Kabul on Sept. 20, 2012 REUTERS

Protests erupted in Kabul Thursday for the first time against the cartoons published Wednesday by a French weekly even as the protests against U.S. over an anti-Islamic video continued.

About 300 students chanted "death to France, death to America" in a western neighborhood of the capital Kabul, AFP reported. Nearby, hundreds more gathered on a flyover and chanted "death to America" and "long live Islam, long live Afghanistan,” the report said.

The demonstrations against the drawings in Charlie Hebdo, a Paris-based satirical French newspaper, which portrayed Prophet Mohamed naked and crouching over to display his buttocks and genitals, were peaceful.

Rallies against a movie, “Innocence of Muslims," a low-budget U.S. production that portrays Prophet Mohamed as a fraudster, womanizer and a child molester, have been held in Afghanistan for the past four days.

The French government, which had urged the publishers to refrain from publishing the lewd drawings, ordered to shut down its embassies and schools in 20 countries as a precautionary measure, Reuters reported.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the Obama administration believed the French magazine images "will be deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory," the Associated Press reported.

"We don't question the right of something like this to be published," he said, referring to the U.S. Constitution's protections of freedom of expression. "We just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it."

Hundreds of demonstrators attacked the security personnel and burned cars Monday during protests in Kabul against the movie.

Kabul's Jalalabad road leading to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul witnessed violent scenes when demonstrators started pelting stones at the policemen and at Camp Phoenix, a U.S. military base that lies along the road while some set a police vehicle on fire. Some 20 policemen were injured and two police vehicles burned in the violence that involved about 300 Afghans, news reports said.

At least 10 people, including nine foreigners, were killed Tuesday in the Afghan capital in a suicide bomber attack on a mini-bus believed to be transporting foreign aviation workers to the airport. Afghan insurgent group Hezb-e-Islami claimed responsibility for the attack which highlighted the growing outrage in Afghanistan over the movie.

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens was killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that ensued following the protests against the film. The U.S. Embassies in Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Pakistan and Indonesia also witnessed violent scenes outside the buildings, including forced entry and vandalism.

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