Muslim hard-liners 'ready to die' to defend prophet

Indonesian Muslim hard-liners signed a pact saying they were ready to die in defence of the Prophet Mohammed, while others burned tyres in streets today amid fresh protests in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

A weekly news magazine issued an apology after reprinting several of the 12 cartoons of the prophet that have triggered sometime violent protests across Indonesia and the rest of the Islamic world.

The cartoons were first published in a Danish paper in September, but have since appeared in papers around the world.

About 175 students at an Islamic boarding school in Surabaya city have signed a pledge saying they are “ready to die” to defend the honour of the prophet, said headmaster Yusuf Muhajir.

Such pledges are traditional in Indonesia, and are considered to be symbolic.

He said the students would demand an apology from any Danish citizens they met in Surabaya, the capital of east Java province, and jokingly said they would be “slapped” if they refused to do so.

Small, peaceful protests were reported in at least three towns, including one on Sulawesi island where demonstrators burned tyres outside a university campus.

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