Islamic Jihad threatened violence on Friday over cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed that were printed in newspapers around the globe.
In Gaza City, about 7,000 people attended a demonstration organized by the Islamic militant group.
“Until now we have limited our action to demonstrations, but if they did not stop their assault on Prophet Mohammed we will defend the prophet with our souls and blood,” Islamic Jihad leader Khader Habib told thousands of supporters after Friday prayers.
“So far we have demanded an apology from the governments. But if they continue their assault on our dear Prophet Mohammed, we will burn the ground underneath their feet,” Habib said.
In Jerusalem, about 2,000 women, young boys and older men chanted “Bin Laden, strike again” as they marched around the Dome of the Rock on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, trampling a homemade Danish flag.
Police tried to prevent violent protests by barring all men under the age of 45 from attending Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa, which is Islam’s third-holiest site.
Thousands protest in Pakistan
About 5,000 protesters gathered for the biggest rally yet in Pakistan’s capital against the cartoons on Friday as other demonstrations erupted across the country.
About 1,200 people protested in the southern city of Karachi, while about 200 rallied in the eastern city of Lahore after Friday prayers. Some chanted, “Stop insulting our religion” and “Freedom of expression does not mean you go mad.”
A political leader gave a fiery speech to the massive crowd in the center of the capital, Islamabad.
“We can destroy embassies of those countries who have hurt our feelings by publishing these blasphemous cartoons, but we won’t do it because Islam does not allow us to take any such action,” said Mian Aslam, a senior leader of a six-party coalition of Islamic groups.
Aslam urged Pakistan to sever ties with all the countries with newspapers that published the drawings. He also said Pakistan should expel envoys of nations who had taken no action against the newspapers.
Several other protests have been held across Pakistan in the past week. So far, the demonstrations have been peaceful, though rallies in other Islamic nations have been violent.
The cartoons were first printed by a Danish newspaper in September. Since then, several other Western media outlets have published the caricatures, arguing that they are only exercising their right to free speech.
Muslims are outraged because Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet. Under Pakistani laws, insulting the prophet or Islam’s holy book, the Koran, can be punished with the death sentence.