Pakistan Shopkeepers close their doors, protesting Prophet Muhammad cartoons

Shopkeepers shut their doors Tuesday in a bustling city near Pakistan 's capital to protest the Prophet Muhammad cartoons that have sparked a string of violent demonstrations across the country in the past week.

Meanwhile, about 2,000 people chanted "Death to America " and "Death to Denmark " as they rallied in the small town of Barwand in the South Waziristan , a tribal region near the Afghan border. Some burned flags of Denmark , where the caricatures were first printed.

Violent protests have killed at least five people in the past week. Recently, the government has started arresting hard-line Islamic leaders accused of whipping up crowds and deploying troops to prevent more rioting.

In other parts of Asia , governments have also been trying to control the protests.

Indonesian police arrested a member of a hard-line Muslim group Tuesday for allegedly taking part in a demonstration last weekend involving a stone-throwing crowd that broke windows of the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Jakarta . The protesters alleged that the cartoons were part of a U.S. conspiracy to sully Islam.

The man arrested faces a maximum penalty of 5 1/2 years for damaging property, said police spokesman Col. I Ketut Untung Yoga, adding that two other suspects also were being questioned.

In Pakistan , about five major markets were closed Tuesday as shopkeepers protested the cartoons in Rawalpindi , a city outside the capital.

"The strike by traders and industry is very successful. One-hundred percent of the shops are closed," said Mushtaq Ali Shah, senior vice president of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which helped organize the strike.

"No person can accept insults to their religious leaders. We are ready to render any type of sacrifice to protect their dignity," Shah said.

Shah said a rally wasn't being held because the businesses didn't want the protest to turn into a riot that might damage property. One week ago, a similar event in the eastern city of Lahore triggered a rampage that led to several shops being burned.

"We do not want any destruction or damage to people's property," Shah said.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said Tuesday the cartoons were an attempt to cause a "clash of civilization" by people who are ignorant about Islam and want to demonize the religion.

"We cannot condone such insensitivities toward our beliefs and condemn it in the strongest way," he said at an Islamic conference.

Aziz later met with Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, who was on a three-day visit.

Ihsanoglu said the cartoon controversy showed that Muslims need the same kind of legal safeguards that protect Jewish people in European countries. He noted the case of British historian David Irving, who was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison in Austria for denying the Holocaust.

"We need the same protection from European law," he said

Ihsanoglu rejected edicts calling for the killing of the cartoonists, saying such demands go against the "essence of Islam."

He also said a boycott of Danish products in some Arab countries was a peaceful way to protest, but he said the OIC does not have the authority to urge member states to boycott European goods, reports the AP.


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