A largely peaceful protest took place in Dublin following a string of highly violent protests in the Middle East in response to a YouTube video depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a fraud.
The Irish Times reports on the demonstration that saw between 200 and 300 Muslims march from St. Stephen’s Green to the American and French embassies in Dublin on Wednesday.
One of the organizers of the march, Khurram Khan, told The Irish Times that the demonstration was not political and insisted that the marchers did not represent any Islamic groups.
Khan added that Muslims in Ireland had been waiting for “someone to take the initiative” to organize a demonstration, and that Irish Imams were reluctant to organize an event with the fear that it may have been poorly received.
Despite organizers intending for the demonstration to be a silent one, chants of “USA! You must pay!” and “There is no God but Allah!” began almost immediately after the beginning of the protest.
“We tried our best to keep it silent but the people have emotions as well,” Khan said afterwards.
Abdul Haseeb, former editor of Irish Muslim magazine, was in attendance, though he did not support the way in which the group was trying to get its message across; he believes that lobbying would have been a more effective route.
“Pressure would have changed things,” Hasseeb said, feeling that protests like the one in Dublin alienate the wider society.
The protest went over without much incident. Upon passing the US embassy, some protesters did shout, “USA! Shame! Shame!” but they were briskly waved on by organizers to keep moving.
Both the American and French embassies issued statements after the march saying that they respect freedom of expression, as well as the “spirit of responsibility” from the protesters.