Muslims protest against celebrity preacher

(AFP) Several hundred Muslims protested on Sunday at a pentecostal church in Stockholm against a preacher who denigrated Islam's prophet Mohammed, calling him a "confused paedophile."

According to police, about 400 Muslim protesters, including women and children, gathered in front of the Philadelphia Church, the main site of the pentacostal movement in Sweden.

In March at the same church, Runar Søgaard, a 37-year-old Norwegian preacher living in Sweden, had made comments about several religions including Islam.

“Mohammed, he is not God, he was a confused paedophile… Read the story of what Mohammed did. He married girls at age nine, 11,” Søgaard said in a sermon which was sold on a CD by his followers.

A statement signed by “Muslims of Sweden” called Søgaard’s remarks “immature and ridiculous,” noting that at the time when the prophet lived girls were married at very young ages.

After Søgaard’s sermon was reported in the Swedish press, the preacher has tried to justify his remarks.

“I made humorous descriptions of different religions, including Christianity,” Søgaard said in a television interview last week.

Sogaard, who is not a member of the Philadelphia Church but has his own religious group, is under police protection having received threats, according to his followers.