Protests have broken out all over Pakistan as reports of a ‘blasphemous’ cartoon competition taking place in the near future spread worldwide.
State officials of the newly elected government as well as civil society members recorded their protests against the anti-Islamic blasphemous content being produced in Netherlands. The said content includes caricatures of Prophet Muhammad. It must be noted that Islam forbids any drawings of the Prophet.
The first statement issued against the protest was by the upper house of the Pakistani parliament that outrightly condemned the contest. Prime Minister Imran Khan recorded his condemnation, stating, “They don’t understand how much they hurt us when they do such acts.”
Khan also vowed to take this issue to the UN.
Soon after on Tuesday, Pakistan’s new Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi complained to his Dutch counterpart over this planned anti-Islam cartoon contest, saying ‘such acts spread hate and intolerance’. Other state officials and authorities in Pakistan have also lodged a diplomatic protest against Wilders’ plan, calling it an attempt to defame Islam.
Geert Wilders is an anti-Islam Dutch MP who leads the country’s second largest party known as the Party for freedom (PVV) and has been found guilty of inciting hatred, invited submissions of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, which Islam forbids.
The $10,000 (£7,700) competition is due to open in November, with 200 entries so far.
Wilders plans to display the cartoons including the caricatures of Muhammad (PBUH), on the walls of his political party’s room in the parliament. He is known to have extremely hate inciting sentiments and beliefs towards Islam and Muslims specifically. He has previously also made a controversial film revolving around Islam.
Wilder has put his life in danger following his ‘intolerant and deliberate actions’ towards disrespecting the sanctity and respect Muslims hold toward their religion – and especially their Prophet.
Police have also arrested a man that aimed to kill Wilder. The 26-year-old man recorded a video on his Facebook page, clearly saying that he aims to kill Geert Wilder.
Soon after, he was arrested by the Dutch Police and Wilder also tweeted about this incident himself. In response to the contest and outrage it sparked, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has described the competition as “disrespectful” and “provocative,” even though he defended the principle of freedom of expression.
He stated, “His (Wilders) aim is not to have a debate about Islam. His aim is to be provocative.”
Other than Wilders, Dutch artist Bosch Fawstin has also come under media attention after uploading caricatures of Prophet Muhammad. Wilders also extended full support to Fawstin and regarded his work as ‘free speech’.
Furthermore, the alt right party in Pakistan, popularly known as the Tehreek-e-labaik (TLP), has also come forward to record their protest. They have started their protest march from Data Darbar, Lahore and are currently moving towards the capital city, Islamabad.
A lot of civilians are expressing outrage against the caricatures and the blasphemous contest, on social media. Hashtag #WeLoveMuhammad has been initiated by Muslims all over the world – especially Pakistan.
The tweets with this hashtag are thoroughly condemning the hate-inciting actions of Dutch politicians and artists.