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Hong Kong Muslims protest against Prophet cartoons

By Staff
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HONG KONG, Feb 26 (Reuters) Shouting slogans and waving banners, more than 1,000 Muslims in Hong Kong mounted a protest today to denounce cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad.

''Mockery is not humour'', ''We want peace, don't harass us'', read some of the banners the Muslims brandished in Chater Garden, a favourite weekend gathering place for foreign domestic helpers.

It was the second peaceful protest in 10 days by Hong Kong's Muslim community, a usually quiet and almost invisible group in this southern Chinese city.

Organisers said they were enraged by the cartoons, which were first published in Denmark in September but which have since been reprinted in many European newspapers.

''We love our prophets and we also love other religions. But why should people hate our religion?'' said Khan Muhammad Malik, chairman of the Pakistan Islamic Welfare Union in Hong Kong.

''We want the United Nations to make a law for the world, stating clearly that no religion must be insulted.'' The cartoons have sparked protests worldwide by Muslims who believe it is blasphemous to depict the Prophet.

Many of the protests have turned violent and at least 50 people have been killed around the world. A Pakistani Muslim cleric last week offered rewards amounting to more than US1 million dollar to anyone who killed any of the Danish cartoonists .

REUTERS PR RN1254

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