Muslim rally to condemn cartoons and extremists

Thousands of Muslims are expected to attend a rally in London at the weekend to protest at both the publication of cartoons defiling the image of the Prophet Mohamed and the response of Islamic extremists.

Muslim leaders will use the demonstration to call for calm and urge the media to apologise for the offence they have caused. The rally, expected to be one of the biggest Muslim demonstrations in Britain, is to be sponsored by Muslim newspapers and broadcasters.

Ihtisham Hibatullah, of the Muslim Association of Britain, said: “Last weekend was very damaging for the Muslim community. We are sometimes held hostage by extremists on both sides.”

Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “British Muslims have been deeply hurt both by the provocative actions of the newspapers that printed these caricatures, but also by the disgraceful actions of a tiny group of extremists.”

He added that the aim of the rally was to protest against the “rising wave of xenophobia towards Muslims across Europe”.

Independent, 8 February 2006