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Blasphemous film draws scattered protests

September 14, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Sept 14: Religious and some political parties on Friday held protest demonstrations in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad against the anti-Islam film produced in the US.

In Islamabad, the local administration persuaded the organisers of a protest rally not to march towards the American embassy in the diplomatic enclave.

About 300 people gathered at Lal Masjid after Friday prayers to stage the protest on the call of Jamaat-i-Islami, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat, people affiliated with the Lal Masjid and other religious seminaries. Later, they marched towards Aabpara Chowk where their representatives addressed the gathering.

The protesters chanted slogans against the American government and the producers of the blasphemous film, Innocence of Muslims.

Another protest was organised by Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen with the participation of over 200 people at G/6 imambargah from where they marched towards the diplomatic enclave. However, they were intercepted by the police at Khayaban- i-Suhrawardy near Serena Hotel. Later, the protesters dispersed peacefully.

In Rawalpindi, leaders and activists of religious and political parties, including Jamaat-i-Islami, Sunni Tehrik, Shabab-i-Islami, Shabab-i-Milli, Khaksar Tehrik, Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (Noorani) and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) also took to the streets.

The protesters, numbering in thousands, were carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans like: ‘We will sacrifice our lives and property for the dignity of Hazrat Muhammad (SAW)’, ‘Death penalty for those involved in the blasphemous act’, ‘The blasphemous act in America is a slap on the face of Muslim rulers’ and ‘Down with the Americans’.

American flags and effigy of the film producer were also torched by the protesters.

Speaking on the occasion, religious scholars and politicians called the making of the movie a “devilish act” and demanded the government of Pakistan and other Muslim rulers to end their ties with the US. They also demanded of the government of Pakistan to expel the American ambassador.

On the call of Jamia Rizvia Ziaul Aloom head Pir Syed Hussainuddin Shah and JUP (N), protest demonstrations were also held. A rally was taken out from Amna Masjid, Kuri Road, to Sadiqabad Chowk by Shabab-i-Islami.

On the call of JI Pakistan chief Syed Munawar Hassan, the party’s city chapter and Shabab-i-Milli also took out a protest rally from Rawalpindi Press Club to Benazir Bhutto Road.

Tehrik Nifaz Fiqa-i-Jafria held protest rallies to denounce the anti-Islam movie. In a statement, Syed Hamid Mosvi said Islam is the religion of peace, tranquility and brotherhood. He said the sinful act of American film producer was an open challenge for the Muslims.

PTI city chapter, under the leadership of Raja Rashid Hafeez, also held a protest demo at Khayaban-i-Jinnah and condemned the film for hurting the sentiments of the Muslims.

Similarly, JUP summoned a meeting of all the religious parties to launch a joint movement against the anti-Islam film on September 17.

In Murree, a large number of political and religious parties protested on the Mall. Speakers on the occasion condemned the act of the US priest and stressed the government to close the American embassy in Islamabad.