Sweden: Muhammad protest in Uppsala

The Örebro Muslim cultural center had called off the protest against local newspaper Nerikes Allehanda, but that does not mean that Swedish Muslims as a whole have decided to drop the issue. This Friday a protest was organized against Upsala Nya Tidning (UNT), a local newspaper which had published Vilks' Muhammad drawing in August.

After the drawing was published, Uppsala Muslims were called upon to boycott the newspaper. In an interview from August 31st, Yehia Abou Zakaria, of the Arabic Cultural Association (Arabiska kulturföreningen) said they were waiting for the Muslim countries. "The next step is to wait for a response from the Arab countries. As Muslims in Uppsala we think that UNT should publish an apology to Muslims, on the same page where the picture was published by Lars Vilks." He didn't think anything positive will be done, though.

Upsala Nya Tidning put up pictures of the Friday protest on their site (available also as slideshow). The signs carried say "stop desecrating our prophet", "right + freedom = Islam", "freedom of the press or freedom of oppression", "never hit somebody who's down", and "we demand religious freedom". A video of the protest is also available (click on "se klippet" under "Demonstrationståget")

A large group of protesters gathered outside the offices of a second Swedish newspaper on Friday evening protesting at the publication in August of a cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

The demonstration outside the offices of newspaper Upsala Nya Tidning (UNT) in Uppsala, 70 kilometres north of Stockholm, attracted around 550 protesters.

Organizers pro-Palestinian group Palestinska Folkets Förening ('Palestinian People's Association') said they wanted to make Swedes in Uppsala aware of the publication and to extract an apology from the newspaper.

Per Erik Eriksson of Uppsala police said the demonstration had been give official authorization. "It's all very peaceful," he said. Another Swedish newspaper, Nerikes Allehanda, has also been the subject of protests from Muslim groups. Both papers published cartoons by Swedish artist Lars Vilks depicting Muhammad with the body of a dog.

Sources: The Local (English), Sverige Radio (Swedish)

See also: Sweden: Muslims call off protest

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