At D.C. Embassy, Protesters Rally Against Danish Cartoons
Sunday, February 19, 2006
About 40 protesters gathered yesterday in front of the Danish Embassy, shouting " Allahu akbar !" -- Arabic for "God is great!" -- in a peaceful demonstration against a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
The demonstrators were met by 20 counter-protesters from the conservative Free Republic group, who stood in front of the embassy on Whitehaven Street NW waving Danish and U.S. flags and holding large letters reading "Human Shields." Also present in force were the Secret Service and D.C. police.
The protest was a spirited, if small, echo of rallies -- many of which have turned violent -- held around the world in recent weeks condemning the cartoons.
Leading the demonstration was D.C. lawyer Malik Zulu Shabazz, head of the New Black Panther Party. He and other speakers criticized the cartoons but went on to address a long list of targets: the Bush administration, Western civilization, slavery, Zionists and Dick Cheney's hunting skills. Even breakfast pastry was not spared.
"I'm not going to eat any more Danish in my life -- no strawberry Danish, no cheese Danish," Shabazz intoned.
The protesters hurled insults at counter-protesters, denouncing them as "devils" and "cannibals." Counter-protesters shouted "Western civ!" and "USA!"
Some who arrived at the event said it turned out to be more representative of the New Black Panther Party than of Muslims in the area.
"Much of what's been said represents them, not us," said a local Muslim activist, Mauri Saalakhan. He criticized the cartoons but also denounced the violence that has erupted in many protests around the world.