Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Diplomatic storm in Asia after India prophet row

Muslims took to the streets in huge protests around Asia after Friday prayers, sparked by remarks about the Prophet Mohammed by an Indian ruling party official that embroiled the country in a diplomatic storm. Anger has engulfed the Islamic world since last week, when a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party commented on the relationship between the prophet and his youngest wife on a TV debate show. Around 20 countries have since called in their Indian ambassadors and the party has gone into damage control, suspending the official from its ranks and insisting it respected all religions. Friday saw the biggest street rallies yet in response to the furore, with police estimating more than 100,000 people mobilised across Bangladesh after midday prayers. “We gather here today to protest the insult of our prophet by Indian government officials,” said Amanullah Aman, a protester in the capital Dhaka. “We want death penalties for them.” (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/huge-muslim-protests-in-asia-after-india-prophet-row/ar-AAYiXz6) In Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, about 50 protesters staged a rally in front of the Indian embassy in Jakarta. In Pakistan, a radical religious party known for frequently paralysing the country with its anti-blasphemy rallies held a march in its stronghold of Lahore after Friday prayers. Around 5,000 supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan – a previously banned group – gathered to protest in the city centre calling on the government to take stronger action against India over the comments.

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