Egypt: Thousands of students protest over cartoons

Several thousand students massed on the al-Azhar University campus in Cairo today to protest against publication of caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, part of a spreading and often violent string of demonstrations across the Muslim world.

The students at al-Azhar, the oldest and most important seat of Sunni Muslim learning in the world, carried banners decrying in the caricatures that first appeared in a Danish newspaper about four months ago and have since been published in several other countries as a show of support for freedom of expression.

It was the second large demonstration in Egypt over the caricatures, but so far neither have become violent like those over the weekend in which protesters burned buildings housing Nordic embassies in Lebanon and Syria.

Some of the placards carried by the students, estimated to number between 3,000 to 10,000, read: “Freedom of expression does not mean cursing others” and “Aggression against the prophet is a dagger in Islam’s body”.

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