Protests held in Pakistan over Quran desecration in Netherlands, Sweeden
Stay tuned with 24 News HD Android App
Several thousand people rallied in Muslim-majority Pakistan after Friday prayers to voice outrage over right-wing protests targeting the Quran in Sweden and the Netherlands.
Blasphemy and insults to Islam are galvanising issues in Pakistan, where leaders have regularly voiced concerns about rising Islamophobia on the international stage.
At least 5,000 people marched through the second-largest city of Lahore chanting "Quran is printed in our hearts" and "I am a protector of the Quran" in a rally organised by the radical anti-blasphemy party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan.
A smaller protest of about 1,000 people was held in the southern city of Karachi and Swedish flags were torn up in both cities.
Small protests were also held in several cities in neighbouring Afghanistan, where men, some carrying Taliban flags, were allowed to take part in rare and brief street demonstrations sanctioned by the Islamist authorities.
Around 1,000 men gathered in the eastern city of Jalalabad chanting: "Death to infidels, Death to Sweden, Death to America."
Right-wing Swedish-Danish politician Rasmus Paludan set fire to a copy of the Islamic holy book in front of Turkey's embassy in the Swedish capital on Saturday, followed days later by a one-man anti-Islam protest in The Hague targeting the Quran.
Furious that Paludan was allowed by police to carry out the protest, Ankara cancelled a visit by Sweden's defence minister and summoned Stockholm's ambassador, and later the Dutch ambassador.
The incidents have been condemned by world leaders as well as the United Nations and the European Union.
Demonstrations have also broken out in Iraq, while Indonesia summoned Sweden's envoy and Egypt called for a boycott of Swedish and Dutch products.