French insult to Prophet Muhammad draws little protest in Cairo, elsewhere

 

McClatchy Newspapers

One week after violence swept across much of the Middle East over a YouTube video extremists blamed on the United States, there were only subdued demonstrations against France over cartoons published in a French magazine insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

In Lebanon, thousands of Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslim supporters of Hezbollah held a peaceful protest against anti-Islam movements. In Egypt, where thousands set off the worldwide protests by stomring the U.S. Embassy compound Sept. 11, scores of protesters, outnumbered by the police, gathered at the French embassy in Giza Friday and demanded an international law criminalizing insulting religions and prophets.

In Alexandria, the demonstrators in front of the French consulate could be counted in the dozens, though they did, according to Egyptian state radio, burn a French flag.

In Cairo, protesters wearing beards of ultra conservative Islamists and dressed in white robs raised black Islamic flags as they marched toward the French embassy. Police blocked roads leading to the building.

“Insulting the prophet is a red line. Religions should be respected,” said Attef Taj el Din, 40, a graphic designer, while carrying a banner that read: “A question to all rational people: Why insult the prophet? What about talking about the Jews holocaust? Is it a red line?”

But unlike last week's protests, in which went on for days and left dozens injured, the crowds Friday dispersed in a few hours. By nightfall, the police appeared bored sitting on the curb awaiting crowds that never appeared.

Some of those who did arrive seemed to be gathering in protest of the United States, not France.

“Who are the ones who started World War I, World War II and killed the American Indians? Who are the radicals? Us or the crusaders?” asked Walid Mahrous, 30, a ceramic worker, offering an odd take on history.

Unlike last week, no group called for Friday’s protests. The Muslim Brotherhood, which had urged last week’s protest before attempting to cancel it at the last minute, issued a statement Wednesday strongly condemning the caricatures published in the French magazine Charlie Heddo. But the group did not urge supporters to take the streets.

“Are there hidden hands manipulating the West to provoke Arab and Muslim peoples who have just begun winning their freedoms from corrupt, authoritarian regimes?” the Brotherhood asked in a statement.

Ismail is a McClatchy special correspondent. Email: egypt@mcclatchydc.com

Read more World Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
A demonstrator against spying holds a sign asking for asylum for former NSA contractor Edward Snowden outside US Army's 'Dagger Complex' near Griesheim, Germany, Saturday, July 26, 2014. The massively secured property is run by the US Military and supposed to be used by the US intelligence agency NSA (National Security Agency).  (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

    Snowden's asylum status in Russia ending

    Edward Snowden's temporary asylum status in Russia will expire at midnight Thursday, but the former U.S. National Security Agency systems administrator appears set to stay on until authorities decide on his application for an extension.

  •  
In this photo taken on Sunday, July 27, 2014,  Medical personnel inside a clinic taking care of Ebola patients in the Kenema District on the outskirts of Kenema, Sierra Leone.  Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has closed some border crossings and ordered strict quarantines of communities affected by the Ebola outbreak. The announcement late Sunday came a day after Sirleaf formed a new taskforce charged with containing the disease, which has killed 129 people in the country and more than 670 across the region.

    Travel ban for Sierra Leone players over Ebola

    The Sierra Leone soccer team has been banned from traveling to the Seychelles for an African Cup of Nations qualifier because of fears over the deadly Ebola virus.

  • French experts in Burkina Faso to ID victims

    A presidential aide says two French experts are in Burkina Faso to collect DNA samples from the relatives who lost family members in the Air Algerie plane crash.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category