Monday, April 22, 2024

Charlie Hebdo protests continue

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LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) – Different Pakistani political and religious groups protested for a fourth day Sunday against what they call blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Protesters in multiple cities burned the French flag and an effigy of the French president, calling for the banning of the weekly satirical magazine. One protest paid tribute to the brothers who attacked the magazine’s offices.

The biggest protest took place in the eastern city of Lahore, where over 10 000 supporters of the hard-line Jamaat-ud-Dawa organisation chanted “Down with Charlie Hebdo” and “Death to blasphemers”.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader Hafiz Mohammad Saeed urged Muslim leaders to convince the United Nations to declare any form of blasphemy an international crime.

“If the United Nations doesn’t pay any heed to it, then Muslim states should form a United Nations of their own,” Saeed said.

Also in Lahore, a small group gathered in front of the Lahore Press Club to pay homage to the Kouachi brothers who attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, killing 12 people. They offered funeral prayers for Cherif and Said Kouachi, and held up signs praising them.

“A strong message was needed and they delivered it. We salute the messengers…may they live long,” one sign read.

In Karachi, the main Jamaat-e-Islami party and cricket star turned politician Imran Khan’s Tehrik-e-Insaf party held protest rallies attended by hundreds.

About 1 200 supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami marched down a main street of the city where former JI chief Syed Munawar Hasan addressed them.

“Muslim masses are protesting over the blasphemous caricatures, but not the Muslim rulers and Muslim armies. They all should raise their voices over this act,” Hasan said.

About 200 supporters of Tehrik-e-Insaf attempted to reach the French consulate, but police blocked them. The protesters burned a portrait and an effigy of French president Francois Hollande.

In the northwestern city of Peshawar, dozens of Christian protesters held their own anti-Charlie Hebdo protest – burning the French flag and demanding the magazine be banned.

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