KARACHI (Reuters) - Several thousand Pakistani Islamists protested in Karachi on Sunday against the reprinting of a satirical cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad and the release of a film that accuses the Koran of inciting violence.
Some 5,000 activists from the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) took to the streets of the southern Pakistani city shouting “Down with Holland” and “Down with Denmark”. Some protesters burned Dutch and Danish flags.
The film, launched by Dutch politician Geert Wilders last month, alternates images of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and other Islamist bombings with quotations from the Koran.
Titled “Fitna,” a Koranic term sometimes translated as “strife”, it also shows an image of the Prophet Mohammad primed to explode and says the rising number of Muslims in Europe threatens democratic values.
The satirical cartoon of the Prophet caused outrage in the Islamic world when a Danish newspaper first published it in 2005, and Danish papers reprinted it in February in protest against what police said was a plot to kill the cartoonist.
JI central leader Munawar Hassan told the crowd the government should “take up the issue with the European Union and review its diplomatic ties with them because such shameful acts can never be tolerated in the name of freedom of expression or press.”
“It is an attempt to provoke Muslims, and those who commit this crime should be declared terrorists,” he said.
The Dutch government has distanced itself from Wilders’ views, and the Dutch upper house of parliament has condemned what it called efforts to denigrate Islam and promote hatred.