Ten thousand Muslims are protesting outside Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence against the publication of cartoons depicting Mohammed. The cartoons – which led to the brutal massacre at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo – were described by the group as a “violation of Islamic law”.
The crowd held banners saying “Charlie and the abuse factory” and “learn some manners” as they called for the world to observe Muslim blasphemy rules. The group taunted the grieving families and supporters of the murdered Charlie Hebdo journalists by using the “#JeSuisCharlie” hashtag to tweet pictures of the rally.
Men and women were divided within the protest as they waved a huge “Be Careful With The Prophet” banner close to the Cenotaph. The sign was widely taken as a direct threat to British military forces, whose lives are commemorated at the memorial.
The protest was organised by the Muslim Action Forum (MAF), which said that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons had helped “sow the seeds of hatred” and had damaged community relations.
British media refused to show the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, despite repeated requests from French journalists. This led Shaykh Noor Siddiqi, from the MAF to tell the rally: “The actions of the UK media in not publishing the cartoons is highly appreciated by British Muslims and we hope that this kind of self-restraint and mutual respect will ultimately lead to a harmonious society.”
At the rally the MAF handed out leaflets that read: “The recent re-publishing of the cartoons, caricatures and depictions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by Charlie Hebdo magazine and other publishers is a stark reminder that freedom of speech if regularly utilised to insult personalities that others consider sacred.
“Such actions are deliberating insulting and provoking to Muslims worldwide as British citizens, we believe that these publications will continue to ‘sow the seeds of hatred’ and damage community relations.”
The video blogger Pat Condell, who is known for his criticism of Islam responded to the protests by saying: “Their religion’s responsible for so much evil, yet all they can protest about is cartoons. Contemptible.”
Whilst around ten thousand Muslims attended the protest a total of one hundred thousand signed a petition that was handed in to number 10 Downing Street. It says the production of cartoons of Mohammed are “an affront to the norms of civilised society”.
At one point during protest stopped for prayers and they whole crowd prayed towarded Mecca.
—Courtesy of Pat Dollard