Thursday, February 09, 2006

Muslims say their battle is not over yet

Cape Town’s Muslim community says yesterday’s massive protest march in the city centre in which tens of thousands of people took part is not the end of their battle. The march was held in protest against the publication of Danish cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed. Die Burger reports the march was one of the biggest ever in the city. Organisers kept their word and there were no incidents of violence during or after the protest. Muslim Judicial Council president Sheik Ebrahim Gabriels said before the march that anybody that offended the Prophet Mohammed would receive severe punishment in the future.

In his reaction to the publication of the cartoons, President Thabo Mbeki said in Parliament yesterday that South Africa’s Constitution entrenched the right to freedom of speech, but at the same time the Constitution also entrenches the freedom of religion, belief and opinion. Referring to the freedom of expression, Mbeki said the right to such freedom does not extend to the advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion.

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