Hundreds join peaceful 'Je suis Muslim' rally in Sydney



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SYDNEY (AP) — Hundreds of Muslims rallied in Sydney on Friday night to protest negative media coverage of Islam and the French magazine Charlie Hebdo's depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

Police said 14 people were moved on from the rally for breaching the peace. But no one was charged and the event was peaceful.

Some of the 800-strong demonstrators in the Muslim enclave of Lakemba held placards with the slogan "Je suis Muslim," French for "I am Muslim."

The slogan was a response to Charlie Hebdo's latest front cover that depicts a tearful Prophet Muhammad holding a sign saying "Je suis Charlie." The edition is the first since the Jan. 7 terrorist attack on the satirical publication's Paris office that left 12 dead.

Organizers of the "Our Prophet, Our Honor" rally said it was intended to be "a peaceful and respectful event" to counter negative media coverage of Islam and Charlie Hebdo's lampooning of their Prophet.

Muslim leader Sufyan Badar told the crowd that demonstrations in support of Charlie Hebdo used freedom of speech as a smoke screen for underlying issues.

"In reality, free speech is one of the many political tools that are used to maintain dominance over the Muslims," Badar said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has used a Sydney radio interview to warn against the rally being used to incite terrorism. He said he hoped few people would attend.

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The Associated Press

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