DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Thousands of Muslims in Pakistan flocked to prayer ceremonies to take part in anti-French protests on Friday, as the French president’s oath The cartoonist Prophet Muhammad’s protectors continued to shock the Muslim world.
An estimated 2,000 worshipers of Mawlid, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, took to the streets east of Lahore. Crowds led by Muslim parties chanted anti-French slogans, raised banners and clogged major roads on the way to a Sufi temple. Dozens of people angrily stepped on the French flag and cried to boycott French products. In Multan, a city in the Punjab province of eastern Pakistan, thousands of people burned a dummy of French President Emmanuel Macron and asked Pakistan to sever ties with France.
More gatherings were planned for late Friday in Pakistan, including the capital Islamabad, where police have been marching to prevent possible protests outside the French embassy. The atmosphere was tense as the police arranged the shipping containers to block the road.
In Jerusalem, hundreds of Palestinians protested against Macron outside of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, chanted: “With our souls and with our blood we make sacrifices to our prophet, Muhammad. ”; Some young men scuffled with Israeli police as they exited the shrine into the Citadel.
Other protests, largely organized by Islamic militants, are expected to take place throughout the region, including in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
In Afghanistan, members of the Muslim Hezb-i-Islami party light the French flag. Its leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, warned Macron that if he did not “control the situation, we would have a third world war and Europe would be held accountable.”
The protests, which come amid heightened tensions between France and the Muslim majority countries, flared up earlier this month when a young Muslim beheaded a French teacher who showed pictures caricature of Prophet Muhammad in class.
Those images, posted by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to mark the opening of a trial for the 2015 deadly attack on the publication, have stirred out outrage among Muslims around the world. who consider the description of the prophet blasphemy.
A series of attacks that the French regime attributed to extremist Islamism ensued. On Thursday, a Tunisian man holding a knife carrying a copy of the Quran killed three people at a church in the Mediterranean city of Nice. That same day, a Saudi man stabbed and slightly injured a security guard at the French consulate in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, prompting France to ask its citizens there “scene high angle ”.
Over the past week, protests and calls for boycott of French products have spread rapidly from Bangladesh, Pakistan to Kuwait. Social media has been flooded with anti-French hashtags. Islamic leaders, especially Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have loudly criticized France for what they see as provocative and the government’s anti-Muslim stance.
Thursday’s attack in Nice also attracted condemnation from leaders of countries that voiced outrage over the caricatures, such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt.
In a lecture on Friday broadcast live on Egyptian state television, the country’s religious minister denounced any violent retaliation against cartoons.
Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, told dozens of believers at a mosque in Egypt’s Daqahleya province: “A prophet’s love cannot be expressed by killing, destroying or responding to evil with evil.
Associated Press writers Asim Tanveer in Multan, Pakistan; Tameem Akhgar in Kabul, Afghanistan; Noha ElHennawy in Cairo and Joseph Krauss in Jerusalem contributed to this report.