Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Protests in Muslim Countries Condemn Charlie Hebdo Cartoon

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Protests in Muslim Countries Condemn Charlie Hebdo Cartoon

Article excerpt

KARACHI, Pakistan * Demonstrators clashed with police Friday in Pakistan, Jordan and Algeria as anger flared among Muslims over a French satirical weekly's latest caricature of the Prophet Muhammad. A photographer with Agence France-Presse was shot and wounded, one of four people hurt in the Pakistan melee.

Supporters say the cartoon on the cover of Charlie Hebdo is a defiant expression of free speech following a terrorist attack on the publication's Paris offices that killed 12 people on Jan. 7, but some Muslims viewed it as an attack on their religion.

There were concerns that rallies against the depiction of the prophet an act deemed insulting to many followers of Islam would unravel into violence in Muslim majority countries, but most of the protests were peaceful.

The new issue has a drawing of Muhammad, with a tear rolling down his cheek and a placard that reads "Je Suis Charlie" a saying that has swept France and the world since the killings.

The protests in Pakistan and elsewhere began after midday prayers Friday, Islam's holy day.

Pakistan's government condemned the Paris massacre, but many in this overwhelmingly Muslim country view Charlie Hebdo's prophet caricatures as an insult. Protesters in the city of Karachi, the eastern city of Lahore and the capital of Islamabad denounced the weekly.

Clashes erupted in Karachi when protesters started heading toward the French consulate, throwing stones at police, who pushed them back with water cannons and tear gas.

Photographer Asif Hassan was shot and wounded, said AFP news director Michele Leridon.

Police officer Naseer Tanoly said some of the protesters were armed and opened fire on the police, who shot into the air to disperse the crowd. The protesters were mostly students affiliated with the Jamaat-e-Islami political party.

Umair Saeed, an official with the party's student wing in Karachi, denied the students had weapons and said the police had opened fire. …

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