Muslims In Malaysia To Protest At Danish Embassy Friday

The Friday demonstration will be the first mass demonstration in mainly muslim Malaysia, prompted by the Danish cartoon controversy. Some 1000 protesters are expected to gather after Friday prayers and then march to the Danish embassy.
       “We appeal to all Muslims to participate in the protest. We demand that the government of Denmark and the newspapers offer an apology to Muslims,” Nasharudin Mat Isa, PAS Deputy President of the Islamic Party (PAS), which arranged the demonstration, told a local newspaper. 
       The demonstration at the embassy is not expected to be violent and the embassy does not plan to take any special precautions. 
       “We are aware that it will take place, but we do not expect that it will be worse than the demonstration last Friday,” Embassy Secretary Steen Hommel said, referring to a small demonstration of about 100 held outside the embassy last week. 
       “It was arranged by the youth wing of the same party, and it was very peaceful. It is of course a demonstration and they will be shouting and showing anger, but that is the way it is done down here,” he added. 
       The Danish ambassador Børge Pedersen is also convinced it will be peaceful. 
       “I have reason to believe that its going to happen in an orderly manner. I have full confidence as the Malaysian police will be here in numbers to assure that the demonstration is completed in an orderly manner.” 
       “It will be a peaceful protest. We oppose any form of violence,” Nasharudin Mat Isa told Harakadaily, adding that the party would also submit a protest note to the Danish embassy. 

One “Islam” – one “West”? 
While some Malaysians march in protest to the Danish embassy others will participate in a conference on “Who speaks for Islam? Who speaks for the West?” 
       The conference, according to Malaysia’s news agency Bernama, is organized by the Malaysian Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations in Kuala Lumpur and will feature prominent speakers including former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.
       The conference will be opened by Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and is going to bring together 60 leaders from the Muslim world, the United States, Europe and other Western countries. 
       “We will discuss ways to dispel mutual misperceptions through the media, the impact of globalization on the Muslim world, and the challenges posed by science and technology,” Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar told a news conference in Kaula Lampour. 
       Syed Hamid also said that the controversial publication of caricatures depicting Prophet Mohammed was an example of “abuse of freedom because of a lack of understanding of Islam”. 
       The Danish ambassador in Kuala Lumpur, Børge Pedersen, told Scandasia that he, along with all the other ambassadors in the city are invited to the opening of the conference, and that he “of course is going to participate.”

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