FAISALABAD/ QUETTA/ ISLAMABAD/ HYDERABAD/ LAHORE: Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq has said the west’s ‘extremist standpoint’ on blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) may lead to a third world war.
“The path that the West has chosen will take the world to a third world war,” Siraj said on Friday.
He was addressing thousands of people at a rally, organised to protest against the insulting caricatures published in Western publications, particularly French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The JI chief demanded that the United Nations make laws to discourage blasphemy of all religious personalities. He said France must apologise for hurting sentiments of billions of Muslims across the world.
Addressing the rally, Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said the life of a Muslim is useless if he cannot protect the honour and dignity of his Prophet (pbuh). Earlier, the rally marched from Faizabad Flyover through Islamabad Highway to the Blue Area of the capital.
Meanwhile, activists of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) also held a protest in Islamabad and assembled outside Lal Masjid after Friday prayers.
ASWJ head Maulana Muhammad Ludhianvi condemned the caricatures and urged the Muslim world to play a role in making international laws to discourage blasphemy. The ASWJ leaders also demanded expulsion of the French ambassador.
Hundreds of people also came together in various parts of Faisalabad to stage a protest demonstration against the French magazine.
The protests were organised by various religious organisations, including Tehreek-e-Ahle Sunnat and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam. The protesters carried placards inscribed with slogans against the publication. They said they would not hesitate to sacrifice their lives to protect the honour, prestige and esteem of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Tehreek-e-Ahle Sunnat chairman Qazi Muhammad Faiz Rasool Rizvi said Western countries had conspired to incense Muslims by publishing the caricatures in an effort to alter the ideology of Islam. He said love for the Prophet (pbuh) was a basic tenet of Islam.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Faisalabad president Abdus Shakoor Rizvi condemned the publication of the offensive caricatures. He said anti-Islam elements should stop hatching such conspiracies or be ready to face consequences.
Shutter down in Quetta
Business and trade activities in the provincial capital of Balochistan came to a standstill due to a shutter-down strike called by different religious and political parties to protest against the caricatures.
The strike was jointly called by Jamaatud Dawa, Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-Nazaryati, Jamaat-e-Islami, ASWJ, Mutheda Mahaz Balochistan and Khilji Quomi Ethad. The Anjuman-e-Tajeran, traders’ union Balochistan, also backed the strike call.
The religious parties took out separate procession and held protest demonstrations near the Quetta Press Club. The protestors demanded that Pakistan snap diplomatic relations with France and put pressure on international community to punish all who played with the sentiments of Muslim world.
Hindu community protests
Thousands of people took to streets on Friday in several districts of Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas divisions to protest against the French magazine. One of the protests in Tando Allahyar district was organised by the local Hindu community. Dozens of Hindu residents marched from Rama Pir temple to Liaquat gate to protest against the act of blasphemy.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2015.