Muslims shout slogans as they hold placards during a protest against French President Emmanuel Macron and against the publishing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad they deem blasphemous, in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. Muslims in the Middle East and beyond on Monday called for boycotts of French products and for protests over the caricatures, but Macron has vowed his country will not back down from its secular ideals and defense of free speech. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

Muslims resume protests against Prophet Muhammad’s cartoons

NEWS DIGEST – Protests resumed on Friday around some parts of the Muslim world as anger spread over France’s handling of cartoons of Islam’s prophet Muhammad (SAW), deemed offensive by many Muslim countries.

Protests erupted after Friday prayers in several areas of the Gaza Strip, with the extremist Hamas movement calling for demonstrators to join a rally in the densely-populated Jabalia refugee camp.

Fathi Hammad, a Senior Hamas leader from Jabalia, called on rally attendees to join together to confront what he called a “criminal assault” against the prophet.

A rally also took place after prayers outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, with participants shouting “We Answer Your call Muhammad,” and “A Nation Led by Muhammad Will not Kneel.”

Protests also broke out in South Asia, with thousands joining demonstrations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Rallies were held across Pakistan’s major cities, with protestors chanting anti-French slogans, burning pictures of French President Macron
and demanding Pakistan’s ambassador to France to be recalled.

Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam, the country’s largest Islamic political party, pledged to continue holding protests for the next week.

Pakistan, a 220-million strong nation with an overwhelmingly Muslim population, had seen deadly protests in the past when a movie deemed insulting to Prophet Muhammad was uploaded to YouTube.

Meanwhile, witnesses said some 2,000 people joined a rally in the Afghan capital Kabul, while thousands more marched in the western Herat province.

The demonstrators are also demanding a boycott of French goods over the cartoons.

Earlier, a French teacher was beheaded in a Paris suburb after showing the cartoon to his students in a lesson about freedom of speech.