Muslim protests over cartoons spread Across Asia

New protests over controversial political cartoons that many Muslims see as an insult to the prophet Muhammad erupting Tuesday across Asia and the Middle East.

Five-thousand Pakistani Muslims at a rally in the northwestern city of Peshawar burned effigies of the prime minister of Denmark, where the satirical cartoons first appeared, and of the cartoonist who drew a caricature portraying Muhammad as a bomb-carrying terrorist.

In Afghanistan, police used batons to disperse some 200 people protesting outside the Danish diplomatic mission in Kabul today. Several hundred protesters threw stones and demonstrated near a NATO base in the northwestern city of Maymana.

In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, Denmark's diplomatic staff urged all Danes to leave the country for their own safety. Hundreds of Indonesian students rallied outside a European Union office in Aceh province.

Iran said it intends to sever all trade ties with Denmark, one day after protesters in Tehran threw fire bombs at the Austrian and Danish embassies there. Danish diplomatic posts in Syria and Lebanon also have been set afire recently.

The original cartoons, published in Denmark in September, included one showing the Prophet wearing a bomb as a turban. They were later reprinted in several European cities as well as New Zealand, reports Voice of America.

I.L.