Pakistan Islamists rally against anti-Islam cartoon contest

02 September, 2018, 05:58 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Geert Wilders was allegedly the target of an assassination attempt police say

On Tuesday, the man, who was not named in the Dutch media, filmed himself saying in Urdu that he was on his way to kill lawmaker Geert Wilders over the politician's plan to hold a cartoon competition about Muhammad, the prophet who founded Islam.

In a written statement Thursday night, Wilders, an outspoken anti-Islam party leader, said he made a decision to "let the contest go" following death threats and concerns other people could be put at risk.

Images of Prophet Muhammad are traditionally forbidden in Islam as idolatrous and caricatures are regarded by many Muslims as highly offensive.

Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, a political party that supports blasphemy laws, called off its protest march on the capital Islamabad after the announcement in the Netherlands shortly after midnight local time on Thursday.

Hundreds of demonstrators left from Data Darbar in Lahore on Wednesday, spent the night in Gujrat and have been on the move since morning.

Wilders on Thursday said he has chose to cancel the controversial blasphemous caricatures contest after being at the receiving end of death threats. The organizers of street protests in Pakistan had called on Islamabad to break off diplomatic relations with the Netherlands over the event.

Teachers and students of an Islamic seminary "Jamia Naeemia" chant slogans condemning a cartoon contest planned by Geert Wilders, a Dutch parliamentarian, during a demonstration in Lahore, Pakistan on August 29, 2018.

One man was arrested for allegedly threatening Wilders after he posted a video to Facebook announcing his intent to attack the politician.

"We will reach Islamabad tonight and hold a sit-in until the government accepts our demands and expels the Dutch ambassador", Pir Ejaz Ahmad Ashrafi, central TLP leader, said.

"My point about the intolerant nature of Islam has been proved again by this", he said.

"The Foreign Office called the charge d'affaires of the Netherlands and issued him a Demarche' to record a protest", the Pakistani prime minister's office said in a statement on Wednesday.

But Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has distanced his government from the cartoon competition, saying it was not a government initiative.

However, Rutte added that people in the Netherlands have far-reaching freedom-of-speech rights and the government did not intend to seek the contest's cancellation. Wilders over his plan.


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