Anti-Charlie Hedbo protests in Somalia and Pakistan
Protests against Charlie Hebdo’s front cover have seen thousands more take to the streets – with students in Somalia declaring ‘Je Suis Muslim – and I love my Prophet’.
Students marched through Mogadishu on Saturday morning, three days after the commemorative edition of the satirical magazine went on sale.
The magazine features a cartoon of the Prophet Mohamed shedding a tear underneath the words ‘All is forgiven’, after 12 of Charlie Hebdo’s staff were killed in a massacre earlier this month.
But the use of the Prophets image has angered many Muslims around the world, with protests taking place from Somalia to Niger, and Pakistan to Jordan.
In Somalia, students had aped the catchphrase of Western marches ‘Je Suis Charlie’ – meant to show solidarity with the magazine – to ‘Je Suis Muslim, et j’aime mon Prophete’.
Translated, the sign means ‘I am Muslim, and I love my Prophet’.
The distinctive white writing was set against a black background with a white border, just like the Je Suis Charlie placards.
Meanwhile, lawyers in Pakistan burnt an effegy of French President Francois Hollande in protest at the image, which they see as an attack on their religion.
The lawyers, dressed in smart suits, were out in force on Saturday morning, as Pakistani activists from Tanzeem-e-Islami lined the streets with signs declaring ‘We condemn anti-Islam acts’.
These protests a day after Pakistani authorities had to use tear gas, batons and water cannons to disperse angry crowds.
The crowds were said to be trying to force their way into the French consulate.
French flags have been burnt in the northwest city of Peshawar and central Multan and rallies have also been held in the capital Islamabad and the eastern city of Lahore.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had led parliament in condemning the cartoons published by the magazine whose officers were attacked last week, resulting in the deaths of 12 people.
Religious leaders had also called for the magazine’s journalists to be hanged and urged their followers to join the protests.
In Niger – a day after five people were killed in Niger in protests over the cartoons – protesters in Niamey attacked a police station and burned at least two police cars near the main mosque after authorities banned a meeting called by local Muslim lead
There had also been protests in Senegal, Mali, Muaritania and Algeria after Friday prayers, as well as in Jordan, where clashes broke out between security forces and about 2,000 protesters organised by the Muslim Brotherhood.
But French President Francois Hollande dismissed the protests, saying anti-Charlie Hebdo protesters in other countries do not understand France’s attachment to freedom of speech.
‘There are tensions abroad where people don’t understand our attachment to the freedom of speech,’ Hollande said.
‘We’ve seen the protests, and I would say that in France all beliefs are respected.’
He added France had supported ‘these countries’ in the fight against terrorism.
‘I still want to express my solidarity (towards them), but at the same time France has principles and values, in particular freedom of expression,’ he said.
Hollande’s country has been left in shock after the three days of violence, which started with the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices, in which 12 died, including the editor.
A young police officer was shot dead in the street the next day, while four more people were killed when they were taken hostage in a Jewish supermarket on the final day, last Friday.
Three of the gunmen were killed in shoot outs with police: brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, who carried out the magazine attack, and Amedy Coulibaly, who was in the supermarket.
A lawyer for one of the brothers said the man had been buried in the eastern city of Reims in an unmarked grave so as not to attract admirers.
A number of anti-terror raids have been carried out across Europe in response to the attacks – including one in Belgium where two suspected jihadists were thought to be planning their own Charlie Hebdo-style attack.
Both were killed in a firefight with officers.