The Malta Independent 15 June 2024, Saturday
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Charlie Hebdo cover causes unrest in Muslim world

Saturday, 17 January 2015, 13:11 Last update: about 10 years ago

Parts of the Muslim world erupted in anger after Friday prayers, with protests against the latest Charlie Hebdo cover - featuring Mohammed on the cover - devolving into riots in several key cities from Senegal to Pakistan.

In Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound, hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated against the French satirical magazine, whose 12 staff members were killed by radical Islamists last week, some with banners reading "Islam is a religion of peace!"

In Lebanon's flashpoint city of Tripoli, 70 people marched with banners bearing the name of the prophet and chanting "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest). In Baddawi, on the outskirts of the city, prayer leader Sheikh Mohammed Ibrahimi addressed hundreds of worshippers saying: "May God punish this newspaper and those who back it".

The largest protests took place in the capitals of Algeria and Jordan. In Amman, around 2,500 protesters set off from Al-Husseini mosque under tight security, holding banners that read "insulting the prophet is global terrorism."

In Algiers, 2,000 to 3,000 marchers chanted "We are all Mohammed," though some shouted their support for the Islamist Kouachi brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre; the march ended when demonstrators began rioting.

Several officers were injured during the clashes, with police firing riot pellets and small groups of protesters responding with rocks, fireworks and bottles in the streets around the waterfront area of the Algerian capital.

Around 100 protesters rallied in Istanbul in response to a call by a group calling itself the Fraternal Platform of the Prophet's Companions, with some holding pictures of the Kouachis.

In the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, hundreds poured out of the Grand Mosque and marched across the adjacent square, chanting "Expel the French ambassador. Victory to the Prophet of God!"

In Tunis, worshippers at El-Fath mosque walked out as prayer leader Noureddine Khadmi said "we are all against insults made against our prophet but it is not a reason to kill."

A French flag was also set on fire outside the embassy in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, where 1,000 protesters rallied, denouncing Charlie Hebdo and chanting slogans of praise to the prophet.

Muslim governments also joined the chorus of condemnation of the cartoon.

Qatar branded as "offensive" the drawing, which was reprinted by several European papers in a show of solidarity with the victims of last week's attack. "These disgraceful actions are in the interest of nobody and will only fuel hatred and anger," the foreign ministry warned.

Bahrain's foreign ministry echoed that, saying publication of such cartoons "will create fertile ground for the spread of hatred and terrorism."

Jordan's King Abdullah II, who also attended march, said Thursday that the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo was "irresponsible and reckless."

Saudi Arabia's top religious body, the Council of Senior Ulema, also criticized the new cartoons that it said "have nothing to do with the freedom of creativity or thought."



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