M. Continuo

Indonesian Muslims rally against Danish cartoon

JAKARTA (Reuters) - About 150 Indonesian Muslims staged noisy rallies in front of the Danish and Dutch embassies in Jakarta on Wednesday to protest against the reprinting of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad in Danish newspapers.

Protests and riots erupted in many Muslim countries in 2006when the cartoons, one showing the Prophet wearing a turbanresembling a bomb, first appeared in a Danish daily. At least50 people were killed and three Danish embassies attacked.

Most Muslims consider depictions of the Prophet Mohammadoffensive.

"Freedom of speech should never be used as an excuse toinsult a personality that is revered by 1.4 billion people inthe world," said Ismail Yusanto, spokesman of radicalinternational Muslim group Hizbut Tahrir, which organised therally.

Yusanto said the group wanted the Danish government to stopthe insult and punish the perpetrators.

"If nothing is done by Western governments, expect to seeour Muslim brothers taking matters into their own hand."

Last Wednesday, Denmark's five major daily newspapersrepublished one of the 12 drawings of the Prophet Mohammad thatangered Muslims around the world, as a protest against a plotto murder one of the cartoonists, 73-year-old Kurt Westergaard.

At least two Dutch newspapers published pictures of theDanish newspapers, with the cartoon visible. The protesters,who blocked the entrance to the embassies, wore headbandsbearing Arabic inscriptions and waved banners saying "Death tothose who insult the Prophet" and "Freedom of speech a disguiseto insult Islam".

(Reporting by Reuters Television and Adhityani Arga;Editing by Sugita Katyal and Alex Richardson)