Thousands protest in Nigeria over anti-Islam film

2012-09-24 20:33
Protesters hold signs during a demonstration in Kaduna against a US-made film which mocks Islam. (Victor Ulasi, AFP)

Protesters hold signs during a demonstration in Kaduna against a US-made film which mocks Islam. (Victor Ulasi, AFP)

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Kaduna - Thousands of people marched through the Nigerian city of Kaduna on Monday in the latest protest in the country's mainly Muslim north against a US-made anti-Islam film.

The protests over the film in Africa's most populous nation have been free of violence and Monday's rally ended with no reports of unrest.

Men, women and children were among the demonstrators who carried banners that read "Death to America" and "Death to Israel."

American flags were burned and dragged through the dusty streets of the northern city along with those of Britain and Israel.

The crudely-made film has stirred outrage across the Islamic world, with protests reported in more than 20 countries and over 50 people killed in attacks or demonstrations.

In Nigeria, where roughly half of the country's 160 million people are Muslim, a pro-Iranian Shi'ite group called the Islamic Movement of Nigeria has organised major demonstrations in three key cities.

"We are holding this protest to express our outrage over the movie that blasphemed Islam," said Mukhtar Sahabi, a protest organiser and member of the Islamic Movement, which was established in Nigeria in the late 1970s.

The low-budget film Innocence of Muslims was reportedly produced by an Egyptian Coptic Christian.

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Kano on Saturday, Nigeria's second city, stomping on American flags and burning pictures of US President Barack Obama.

Last week several thousand people protested in the city of Zaria, which is near Kaduna.

Kaduna and Zaria were hit by a series of suicide bombings at churches in June that sparked reprisal violence by Christian youth mobs, who killed dozens of their Muslim neighbours and burned some of their corpses. Muslim mobs later launched further revenge attacks.

The church bombings were blamed on the radical Islamist group Boko Haram, which has carried out scores of attacks across northern and central Nigeria since 2010.

An article in one of Nigeria's leading newspapers in 2002 considered blasphemous by Muslims helped spark deadly riots in Kaduna in which 3 000 people were killed.

Read more on:    nigeria  |  prophet protests  |  west africa
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