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DUBAI: Muslims protested in Nigeria, Iran, Greece and Turkey on Sunday to show more anti-Western anger against a film and cartoons insulting Islam.
As delegates gathered in New York for a UN General Assembly where the clash between free speech and blasphemy is bound to be raised, US flags were once again burnt in parts of the Muslim world.
Iranian students chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” outside the French embassy in Tehran in protest at the decision by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, days after widespread protests – some deadly – against a film made in the United States.
Shia Muslims in the Nigerian town of Katsina burned US, French and Israeli flags and a religious leader called for protests to continue until the makers of the film and cartoons are punished.
In Pakistan, where 15 people were killed in protests on Friday, a government minister has offered $100 000 (R1.7m) to anyone who kills the maker of the short, amateurish video The Innocence of Muslims. Calls have increased for a UN measure outlawing insults to Islam and blasphemy in general.
In Athens, protesters hurled bottles of water, stones and shoes at police who responded with teargas. Demonstrators then interrupted the protest to pray.
Muslim inmates in Athens’ main prison set mattresses and bed sheets on fire. Firemen with four engines battled the flames.
Protests around the world were relatively small and calm, but Western embassies remained on alert after the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed on September 11.
The upsurge of Muslim anger – just weeks before US elections – has confronted President Barack Obama with a setback in campaigning.
In US ally Turkey protesters set fire to US and Israeli flags on Sunday.
“May the hands that touch Muhammad break,” chanted some 200 protesters before peacefully dispersing.
“We will certainly not allow uncontrolled protests, but we will not just grin and bear it when Islam’s prophet is insulted,” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told party members at the weekend. – Reuters