ABUJA, NIGERIA — Thousands of Muslims protesters in Nigeria have called for African leaders to censor the anti-Islamic video that has caused protests and riots around the world. The city of Kaduna has been the site of many deadly sectarian clashes between Muslims and Christians, but today’s demonstration was peaceful.
Like in many other cities around the world in recent weeks, thousands of protesters in Kaduna Monday called out “God is Great!” and “Praise to the Prophet!” Soldiers surrounded the demonstration and the event ended promptly after the scheduled three hours.
The volatile “middle belt” city of Kaduna, like Nigeria as a whole, is divided between a mostly-Muslim north and a largely Christian south.
About 900 people have been killed in sectarian violence in the city in recent years, but protest organizer Sheik Mohammed Muktar said Monday’s protest was not about other Nigerians, it is about the defamation of Islam.
Muktar said they are angry the United States allowed the video to be released and at African leaders for not censoring it. Other Muslim leaders called for Nigerian Christians to support their condemnation of the video.
Nigerian government and religious leaders have called for calm after the anti-Islamic Internet video caused protests around the world. In the crowd, an American flag was tossed on the ground and protesters carried signs exalting God and expressing anger at the United States and the video.
No violence erupts
There was none of the violence that marked protests in Egypt, Yemen, or Libya, where an attack on the U.S. embassy killed four people, including the ambassador.
A demonstration by tens of thousands in the northern city of Kano last week also ended peacefully.
Demonstrations against the privately-made amateur video have been held around the world for two weeks. U.S. President Barack Obama has publicly condemned the anti-Islamic message in the video, but many Muslims blame the United States for its release.
Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna. Ardo Hazzad contributed to this report from Bauchi. VOA