"I don't battle anymore! I uplift motherfuckers!" - GZA
Sunday, February 12, 2006,1:27 PM
Protests over Mohammad cartoons reach Venezuela
CARACAS, Venezuela, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Around 200 mainly Muslim protesters marched to the Danish Embassy in Caracas on Friday and burnt a Danish and an American flag, as protests over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad spread to Latin America.

The demonstrators left a prayer session at a Caracas mosque and marched together, chanting in Arabic, to the embassy where they doused a Danish and an American flag with gasoline and set them alight on the building's steps.

It was the first such demonstration in Latin America in a sweeping global protest over the cartoons that has brought tens of thousands of Muslims to the streets from Jakarta to Nairobi, killing at least 11 people so far.

The drawings, considered blasphemous by many Muslims, were first published in a Danish newspaper, but have since appeared in a number of other publications in Europe.

"This is a peaceful march so that people don't keep picking on Muslim people," said Elias Antonio, a young Venezuelan protester sporting a red baseball cap.

"I am a Christian. I am supporting my friends. There has to be respect, whether you're Christian, Muslim or Shi'ite, you have to respect everything," he said.

The protesters marched some 2 miles (3.2 km) to the embassy in the business district of Caracas from the downtown mosque, where one shouted: "We have to do our duty. Let's go on this march and protest calmly for our religion, for our Prophet."

Venezuela has a small but influential Muslim population, many of them citizens of Lebanese and Syrian descent. The Caracas mosque is one of the biggest in Latin America.

The Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons has apologized for offending Muslims, although not for printing the drawings.
posted by R J Noriega
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