Protests against France continue to rage in countries across the world, with tens of thousands of Muslim demonstrators taking to the streets demanding the French ban satirical cartoons depicting Islamic Prophet Muhammad.
Demonstrators have burned and hanged effigies of President Emmanuel Macron due to his refusal to condemn the circulation of the cartoons published in Charlie Hebdo magazine, after a teacher was beheaded last week allegedly for sharing the materials in a lesson on free expression.
A second attack linked to terrorism left at least three churchgoers dead — with one beheaded — on Thursday in Nice, France, after calls for jihad over the blasphemy of mocking the religious figure.
What’s the background?
In 2015, Charlie Hebdo’s offices were attacked by gunmen, who left a dozen dead and another 11 injured in retaliation for the satirical magazine publishing cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammed.
Charlie Hebdo republished the cartoons earlier this year in conjunction with the trial of 14 people accused of assisting in the murders, leading to a reemergence of uproar from Muslims and renewed threats to the magazine’s employees.
Following the second publication of the cartoons, French teacher Samuel Paty showed the images to his students earlier this month. As TheBlaze previously reported:
The father of one of his students began an internet campaign against Baty, uploading videos to YouTube and Facebook blasting the teacher and claiming that he showed cartoons of Muhammad with his genitals exposed. The campaign caught fire in the Muslim world, with worldwide calls for reprisal against Baty and against the French government, who naturally refused to take action against Baty.
Ultimately, Baty was murdered and beheaded on Oct. 16 by an 18-year-old Chechen Muslim refugee named Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov, who was himself caught and killed by police as he attempted to flee the scene.
Macron responded by holding a ceremony honoring the murdered teacher, where the French president declared, “He was killed because Islamists want our future. They will never have it.”
Hard-line Muslims worldwide called for boycotting France following the ordeal. Meanwhile, some French citizens have showed their solidarity with Macron in honoring the teacher and free expression by displaying the Charlie Hebdo cartoons in windows of homes and shops.
What’s happening now?
The Associated Press reported that “tens of thousands of Muslims, from Pakistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian territories, poured out of prayer services to join anti-France protests on Friday, as the French president’s vow to protect the right to caricature the Prophet Muhammad continues to roil the Muslim world.”
The outlet further reported:
Demonstrations in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad turned violent as some 2,000 people who tried to march toward the French Embassy were pushed back by police firing tear gas and beating protesters with batons. Crowds of Islamist activists hanged an effigy of French President Emmanuel Macron from a highway overpass after pounding it furiously with their shoes. Several demonstrators were wounded in clashes with police as authorities pushed to evict activists from the area surrounding the embassy.
In Bangladesh, protesters set an effigy of Macron ablaze.
One cleric leading protests in Pakistan yelled, “There’s only one punishment for blasphemy,” to which the crowd yelled back, “Beheading! Beheading!”