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Wednesday, 23 May, 2001, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
Japan investigates Koran desecration

The police in the north-western Japanese prefecture of Toyama say they are investigating a number of anti-Muslim incidents including the alleged theft and destruction of a copy of the Koran -- an incident which has angered Pakistanis living in Japan.

The Muslim holy book was found damaged with pages torn out, outside a Pakistani-owned car dealership, along with derogatory leaflets slandering Muslims.

The Pakistani embassy has appealed for the arrest of anyone involved in the desecration of the Koran, which was allegedly stolen from a meeting-palce in a nearby town where local Muslims gather to pray. Police are examining whether there is a connection with a group of right-wing extremists, who last month drove vehicles rigged with loudspeakers through the streets of Toyama demanding that Pakistanis leave town.

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