Afghan police shoot two dead near US base

Afghanistan’s top Islamic organisation today called for an end to four days of rioting against drawings of the Prophet Mohammed, as police shot dead two protesters to stop hundreds from marching on a US military base.

“Islam says it’s all right to demonstrate, but not to resort to violence. This must stop,” said senior cleric Mohammed Usman.

“We condemn the cartoons, but this does not justify violence. These rioters are defaming the name of Islam.”

Other members of Afghanistan’s Ulama Council went on radio and TV stations, calling for an end to the violence.

Beside the two deaths in the riot in southern Afghanistan’s Qalat city, 10 protesters were shot and wounded, and two police and two Afghan soldiers were hurt by flying rocks, said Ahmad Khan, a doctor at the city’s main hospital.

The local police chief, Abdul Bari, said police initially fired in the air, but they then were forced to fire on the crowd, which had gathered to protest against cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed originally published in a Danish newspaper.

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