Protests in Lebanon, Egypt over Koran

May 27, 2005 at 11:41 AM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, May 27 (UPI) -- Thousands of Muslims marched in Beirut after prayers Friday protesting a now-retracted report on the desecration of the Koran by U.S. soldiers.

The march organized by the outlawed Islamic Liberation Party took off from a main mosque in west Beirut and arrived outside the prime minister's headquarters in the city's downtown area.

The marchers, estimated at 3,000, chanted "Allah Akbar (God is Great)" and "Death to America," then burned the American and Israeli flags.

Although the Sunni fundamentalist organizing party is officially banned, security forces escorted the demonstrators to prevent violence.

The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood Organization held similar protests in several Egyptian cities, denouncing the alleged desecration reported by Newsweek magazine, which has since retracted the story. Military investigators have said there is evidence the Koran was mishandled at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, five times but no evidence of the more serious accusation that it was flushed down a toilet.

Marches were conducted in Cairo's central district after Friday prayers, as well as in Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city.

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