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Torino 2006

Muslims protest in Toronto, Montreal against controversial cartoons

Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in Montreal and Toronto Saturday at peaceful protests against cartoons that insult the Prophet Muhammad.

A boy holds a Koran with his mother during a demonstration in Montreal on Saturday. (CP Photo)

About 250 Muslims demonstrated near Montreal's McGill University, while 200 people marched in front of the Danish consulate in Toronto.

Police officers were present at both protests. One man, who was shouting profanities about Islam, was arrested In Montreal.

The cartoons were first published in a Danish newspaper last fall, and attracted little attention.

But anger grew as news of the cartoons spread among Muslims worlwide. Islamic tradition forbids even favourable depictions of Muhammad out of fear they could lead to idolatry.

The protests � some violent � spread around the world as western newspapers, including the student paper at the University of Prince Edward Island, reprinted them as a demonstration of freedom of expression.

In Toronto, Mashhood Ahmed said, "It's our values, it's our traditions. We want to let people know what our values are so they can understand why we are protesting."

About 50 people in Montreal held a counter-demonstration in favour of freedom of speech.

There were also marches in Europe, with some protesters rejecting both the cartoons and the violent responses to their publication.

VIDEO: Andree Lau reports for CBC-TV (Runs: 2:14)