Insults to Islam ignite violence in Pakistan, 15 killed
By Aisha Chowdhry
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Muslim protests against insults to the Prophet Mohammad turned violent in Pakistan, where at least 15 people were killed on Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, but remained mostly peaceful in other Islamic countries.
In France, where the publication of cartoons denigrating the Prophet stoked anger over an anti-Islam video made in California, authorities banned all protests over the issue.
"There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up," said Interior Minister Manuel Valls.
Tunisia's Islamist-led government also banned protests against the images published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Four people were killed and almost 30 wounded last week when the U.S. embassy was stormed in a protest over the film.
Many Western and Muslim politicians and clerics have appealed for calm, denouncing those behind the mockery of the Prophet, but also condemning violent reactions to it.
At street level, Muslims enraged by attacks on their faith spoke of a culture war against those in the West who put rights to freedom of expression before religious sensitivities.
"They hate him (the Prophet Mohammad) and show this through their continued works in the West, through their writings, cartoons, films and the way they launch war against him in schools," said Abdessalam Abdullah, a preacher at a mosque in Beirut's Palestinian refugee camp of Bourj al-Barajneh.
Muslims consider any depiction of the Prophet blasphemous. Continued...