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Jordan Islamists torch Danish flag over cartoon

AMMAN (Reuters) - Vowing “Revenge against Crusaders who attack the symbol of Islam,” dozens of Jordanian Islamists burned the Danish flag on Monday to protest the reprinting of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad in Danish newspapers.

Supporters of the Islamic Action Front party take part in a protest against the republication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad, outside the Danish Embassy in Amman February 25, 2008. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

The Islamic Action Front, Jordan’s main licensed opposition party and the political offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, demanded the government expel the Danish envoy until his government offered an official apology.

“Oh government, expel the Danish ambassador: Oh Dane... listen the Prophet is the symbol of our Islam. We will die for his sake and eradicate anyone who humiliates him,” chanted angry protesters in the noisy sit-in near the Danish consulate in the capital Amman.

The Islamists also urged Jordanians to boycott Danish products, saying reprinting the drawings was a deliberate insult and part of “the crusade by the West against Islam.”

Muslims consider depictions of the Prophet Mohammad offensive.

Protests and riots erupted in many Muslim countries in 2006 when the cartoons, one showing the Prophet wearing a turban resembling a bomb, first appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005. At least 50 people were killed and three Danish embassies attacked.

The cartoon controversy returned this month after Denmark’s five major daily newspapers republished one of 12 drawings of the Prophet that angered Muslims around the world two years ago.

The newspapers said they did so to protest a plot to murder one of the cartoonists who originally published the drawings.

Sheikh Hamza Mansour, a leading Islamist deputy in parliament, warned the repeated republication of the cartoons on “such a scale despite the past reaction would only stoke the fire of fanaticism, deepen hatreds and showed lack of respect by the West towards Muslims.”

There have been protests or warnings to Denmark because of the new drawings in several countries, including Egypt, Iran, and in the Palestinian territories.

Writing by Suleiman al-Khalidi; editing by Mary Gabriel