Protests against the recent incidents of insult to the Prophet Mohammad turned violent in Pakistan killing at least 25 and injuring hundreds on Friday. In other parts of the world, the protest demonstrations were largely peaceful.
Thousands of people in Pakistan joined the protests that turned into a bloodbath in several cities including Karachi, Peshawar, Mardan and Islamabad. At least 20 people, including three policemen, were killed in the violence in Karachi and over 200 reportedly injured.
In Peshawar, six were killed when the protestors clashed with the riot police. The mobs destroyed public property, set ablaze the chamber of commerce in Peshawar and looted several banks, ATMs and shops.
The enraged crowd set on fire about “20 vehicles, three banks and five cinemas,” a Reuters report quoted Allah Bachayo Memon, spokesman of the chief minister of Sindh province, saying.
The dissent in Pakistan against the anti-Islam movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” which was allegedly made in the U.S., reportedly has the patronage of the local government.
Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf condemned the disgrace to the Prophet calling it, "an attack on the whole 1.5 billion Muslims." He declared Friday as a "Day of Love" for the Prophet.
Pakistan foreign ministry had also summoned the U.S. chargé d'affaires to lodge a protest over the anti-Islam video posted on YouTube that triggered the violent protests, a Reuters report said. This was despite the U.S. government denouncing the controversial video and running a series of TV ads in the Pakistani media saying that the U.S. government was not involved in the making of the film and that it condemned the act.
"Our demand is that whoever has blasphemed against our holy Prophet should be handed over to us so we can cut him up into tiny pieces in front of the entire nation," said Mohammed Tariq Khan, a protester in Islamabad, as reported by Reuters.
The government in Pakistan has suspended mobile phone services in 15 cities to prevent any terrorist activity.
However, the security around the U.S. consulates was beefed up and the protestors were not allowed near the diplomatic missions.
The protests were mostly peaceful in the neighboring Afghanistan. Protesters gathered in huge numbers in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and burned U.S. flags and the effigy of President Barack Obama.
In several other countries including France where derogatory cartoons of the Prophet were published in the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, any demonstrations on the issue were banned. The controversial cartoons had escalated the protests against anti-Islam incidents.
"There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up," said Interior Minister Manuel Valls.
The Muslims consider any kind of representation of the Prophet in images as blasphemous and such attempts in the name of freedom of expression has always invoked opposition from the Muslim world and sparked violent attacks against the U.S. and the West.
"They hate him (the Prophet Mohammad) and show this through their continued works in the West, through their writings, cartoons, films and the way they launch war against him in schools," said Abdessalam Abdullah, a preacher at a mosque in Beirut's Palestinian refugee camp of Bourj al-Barajneh, Reuters reported.
However, politicians and Muslim leaders worldwide have condemed the controversial movie and cartoons and have appealed to the people to remain calm and stop the violent protests. In many Arab countries, the situation has calmed down and the protests remained largely peaceful.
In Libya, where four Americans including the ambassador were killed last week in the anti-Islam film protests, thousands of Libyans marched decrying the violence. The demonstrators criticized the killing of the diplomats and stormed the headquarters of the Islamist Ansar al-Sharia militia, which is suspected of leading the protests that killed the Americans.
In other Arab countries like Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, tens of thousands participated in relatively peaceful demonstrations.
To contact the editor, e-mail: