KABUL – Afghanistan’s parliament demanded Saturday that US-led forces apologise for distributing footballs that carried Koranic verses and have been labelled insulting to Islam.
The US-led military coalition late last month dropped toys, including soccer balls, into the eastern province of Khost as part of a goodwill gesture aimed at winning over support from the local population.
The balls showed the flags of several nations, including the Saudi standard, which bears the verses.
“˜The people’s representatives want them (US-led forces) to formally apologise out of respect for public opinion and sentiment,” the conservative parliament said in a statement that was voted for by most MPs.
“˜We, representing the people of Afghanistan, want our friendly forces to respect the culture and tradition of people in their activities.”
About 100 people demonstrated after the balls were dropped into Khost by helicopters, saying they were an insult to their religion.
The US-led coalition expressed regret for causing unhappiness.
Deeply Islamic Afghanistan is sensitive to slights on Islam. Last year there were days of sometimes deadly protests about cartoons printed in Europe that were deemed to insult the Prophet Mohammed.