Luke David, Evening Standard (London), May 20
Muslim protesters today called for the bombing of New York in a demonstration outside the US embassy in London.
There were threats of “another 9/11” from militants angry at reports of the desecration of the Koran by US troops in Iraq.
Some among the crowd burned an effigy of Tony Blair on a crucifix and then set fire to a Union flag and a Stars and Stripes.
Led by a man on a megaphone, they chanted, “USA watch your back, Osama is coming back” and “Kill, kill USA, kill, kill George Bush”. A small detail of police watched as they shouted: “Bomb, bomb New York” and “George Bush, you will pay, with your blood, with your head.”
Demonstrators in Grosvenor Square, some with their faces covered with scarves, waved placards which included the message: “Desecrate today and see another 9/11 tomorrow.”
The protest was organised by groups including the Muslim Council for Britain and the Muslim Parliamentary Association of the UK. Their protest follows fury in the Islamic world over the claims in a Newsweek magazine that US soldiers at Guantanamo Bay had abused the Koran.
The magazine later withdrew the article and apologised but not before it triggered riots in Afghanistan in which 17 people died and 100 people were injured.
Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Martin Mubanga told the crowd he had seen a copy of the Koran “desecrated” during his time at Camp Delta.
He said: “This was one of the methods they used, throwing the Koran, my Koran, on the floor in my cell.”
One of the protesters called for the release of radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza. He shouted: “Your so-called democracy will fall under the sword of Allah. The day of judgment is coming.”
The demonstration coincided with protests across the world. On the West Bank 2,500 Palestinians streamed out of mosques shouting “Death to America”. In Calcutta, India, protesters burned, spat and urinated on the US flag. And in Somalia thousands chanted anti-US slogans.