Scores of Palestinian Muslims and Christians demonstrated in the West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Nablus, on Sunday and Monday, in a show of unity against offensive caricatures of the Muslim Prophet Mohammad published by the European press.
In Bethlehem on Sunday, priests, representing all Christian sects of the Church of Nativity, walking hand in hand with the Muslim Mufti of Bethlehem joined the peaceful demonstration, which took place at Manger Square in the city.
Many more of the city’s Muslim and Christian residents joined the march as it moved slowly from the Church of Nativity to Omar Mosque across the Square, delivering the massage, "If you offensively caricaturize one religion, you blaspheme us all."
The demonstrators called for boycotting several European products by distributing stickers rife with brand names of these products that included the largest Swedish dairy producer, Arla Foods, which has several production facilities in Denmark. The protester stood behind a banner that read "Skepticism in Holocaust = Unforgivable Crime!! Defamation of Prophets and Faiths = Free Expression!!"
Bethlehem’s demonstration and the using of the weapon of product boycott was designed to show the world that there is more than the images shown on the international news agencies of people setting fire to Danish flags and wreaking havoc in the streets.
Meanwhile during another demonstration in Nablus on Monday, a religious figure in the city, Sheikh Abdel Rahim Al Henbely warned that any person who humiliates the three holy sects will be killed, claiming that a precedent for such action exists in history.
Henbely delivered his remarks during a meeting between Muslims, Christians, and Samaritans in Nablus’ Latin Church. He stated, "We won’t stand doing nothing in the face of this humiliation." Priest Yousif Sa’adi confirmed that Christians condemn the caricatures, saying, "We are all sons of God and what hurts Muslims hurts us too."
Speaking on behalf of the Samaritan community, an Arabic speaking sect related to Judaism that retains several hundred adherents on Mount Jerizim in the city, Abed Al Muim said, "We respect and honor the prophets all religions and I thank every person that stood up to defend the Muslim Prophet."