KADUNA, NIGERIA — Hundreds of Muslims march peacefully through the streets of a northern Nigerian city to protest an anti-Islam film that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad.
The march Monday was in the city of Kaduna, where hundreds were killed in religious violence following Nigeria's 2011 presidential election. Those protesting burned French, British and U.S. flags.
The protest comes after a series of protests in Nigeria, a nation largely split between a Christian south and a Muslim north. All the demonstrations have been peaceful, though one protest was broken up by soldiers firing into the air.
The film, "Innocence of Muslims," has sparked protests around the world. American leaders have denounced the film, which is protected under U.S. free speech laws.
Muslims burn an American flag following a protest in Kaduna, Nigeria, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012. Hundreds of Muslims march peacefully through the streets of a northern Nigerian city to protest an anti-Islam film that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad. The march took place Monday in the city of Kaduna, where hundreds were killed in religious violence following Nigeria's 2011 presidential election. Those protesting left behind graffiti on walls reading: "Death to the Americans, Death to the Israelites."
Muslim protesters in Kaduna
Social and economic activities in parts of Kaduna State were on Monday disrupted as hundreds of Muslim protested against the anti-Islam movie and cartoon which allegedly portrayed Prophet Muhammad in a bad light.
The development further charged the already tensed atmosphere in the state since the multiple bombing of three churches in Zaria and Kaduna in June.
Residents of the affected areas scampered to safety unknown to them that it was a rally to protest the anti-Islam movie. Areas mostly affected are Bakin-Ruwa, Tudun-Wada, Ungwan-Mua’azu, a predominantly Muslim areas.
The protest which was organised by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria also known as Shiite Islamic sect, started about 8.30am when members of the sect started gathering near the Shiekh Tahiru Usman Bauchi Friday Mosque, Asikolaye along the ever busy Nnamdi Azikiwe Western bye-pass on the outskirt of the metropolis.
By 9.30am they had taken over Nnamdi Azikiwe road.
The protesters, who were closely monitored by armed security operatives, marched to Bakin Ruwa through Duste-ma road chanting anti-American slogans.
They dragged the American, Israeli, British as well as French flags on the ground chanting; ‘death to America! death to Israel! And death to France!’
Besides, the protesters, mostly women with children strapped to their backs, also carried placards with the inscriptions; ‘death to America, death to Israel and death to France.’
Elsewhere at the Tudun-Wada area, a predominantly Muslim enclave in the state, there were inscriptions on the walls which read, ‘Death to America! Death to Israel! Death to France! No to blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad! ’
In a leaflet distributed to reporters, the sect described the US as “a country of Great Satan.”
It maintained that the release of the movie at this point in time, was a move to institutionalise September 11 event as an annual ritual to portray Islam as a religion of terrorists.
The sect said, “A great catastrophe has befallen the world when from the country of the Great Satan (US), an Israeli was commissioned to produce anti-Islam film that mocked and ridiculed Islam, Prophet Muhammad and followers of this great religion.
The film, apart from outward mockery on tenets and beliefs of Islam, presented Prophet Muhammad in a display of an unspeakable immoral manner and personality.
Addressing the protesters, Head of the Kaduna Centre of the Islamic Movement, Malam Mukhtar Sahabi, urged the Muslims not to see the protest as belonging to a particular sect but the entire Nigerian Muslims.