Over 20 killed in 'Friday of fury'
Islamabad, September 22, 2012
Simmering Muslim anger over insults to Prophet Mohammed exploded in violent protests across Asia and the Middle East yesterday even as some religious leaders called for peace and restraint.
More than 20 people were killed and hundreds innjured when thousands of angry demonstrators turned violent during government-sanctioned protests across several cities in Pakistan on a day being observed as a national holiday in honour of the Prophet.
Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Nigeria and Germany were some of the other nations where protests were held over an amateurish film made in the US mocking the Prophet and offensive caricatures published in a French satirical magazine.
French embassies and schools remained closed yesterday across most of Asia and the Middle East as a precaution. Both the film and the cartoons as well as the violence over them have been condemned by Muslim nations and the West. France has banned any more publications of the offending cartoons.
Amidst spiralling violence, there were calls for peace and restraint.
Egypt's highest Islamic official, Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, said Muslims angered by the film and cartoons should follow his example of enduring insults without retaliating.
The publication of the cartoons showed how polarised the Muslim world and the West had become.
To ignite the simmering tensions is a foolhardy attempt at bravado, he said.
His calls for restraint were echoed by Al Azhar, Egypt's prestigious seat of Sunni learning, which condemned the caricatures but said any protests should be peaceful.
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