Congress MLA leads protest against French president Emmanuel Macron’s Islam crackdown, in Bhopal on Thursday.
Thousands of people marched through the streets of Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal to protest against France’s tougher stance on radical Islam and President Emmanuel Macron’s defence of cartoons of Prophet Mohammed in order to champion secularism. Congress MLA Arif Masood led the protest march.
Muslim protesters gathered at Iqbal Maidan, holding placards that said ‘Prophet Muhammad is our Honour’, ‘France is heading towards self-destruction’. They also have stomped on the pictures of the ‘devil’ Macron that were scattered on the ground.
Police booked Masood and 200 others under section 188 of the IPC.
Macron has faced backlash from Muslims worldwide for his comments on Islamic separatism. He had allegedly spoken out after a teacher was beheaded earlier this month, for showing cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Paying tribute to the teacher, Macron said France “will not give up our cartoons”. He called it fundamental to freedom of speech.
Muslims in France – and elsewhere – are also furious at what they claim is a heavy-handed government clampdown on their communities in the wake of the killing 11 days ago of the high school teacher Samuel Paty.
Congress MLA leads protest against Macron
Protesting against the perceived affront, the protesters gathered at the ground in Bhopal and listened to ‘Ulemas’ for two hours. At the gathering, the leaders eulogised the Prophet Mohammad ‘Nabi’.
Masood told the jam-packed crowd that a “rebellion would be raised from the city”. He clarified that Islam has always been against terrorism and so it would be in the future. “…Islam and its followers have always been against the weak and we could never side with the tormentor,” he said.
The Congress MLA was also instrumental in organising protests to oppose mob lynching linked to cow vigilantism, law to criminalise triple talaq and the demonstrations against CAA-NCR in the city. During the protests over CAA-NRC earlier this year, Masood had launched the ‘We will not show papers’ campaign.