Thousands stage demo in Mali over video against Islam
Thousands of demonstrators thronged Mali’s capital Bamako on Friday to protest the publication of a video on social media deemed blasphemous against Islam.
Six people were held on Thursday accused of complicity in circulating a ‘blasphemous’ video showing a man making ‘derogatory comments’ and ‘insulting acts’ against Muslims, the Quran and the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SM), the Bamako prosecutor’s office said.
Police said the protest, called by the High Islamic Council of Mali, gathered thousands of people, although organisers estimated their numbers at more than one million.
Slogans including ‘No to blasphemous comments’ and ‘no more attacks on Islam and the Prophet Muhammad’ were visible on the protesters’ banners.
‘What happened is unforgivable. The author of the blasphemous comments must be arrested and tried,’ imam Abdoulaye Fadiga told AFP.
Haby Diallo, a teacher at a religious school in her 40s, said she wanted ‘inter-religious dialogue. Everyone should respect each other’s religion’.
The six people were put in pre-trial detention notably for refusing to tell authorities where the man — who is still on the run — was hiding, a source in the prosecutor’s office told AFP.
The affair has caused uproar in Mali, where nearly 95 per cent of the population is Muslim and the right to blaspheme does not exist.
The HCM — a grouping of religious leaders and associations and Mali’s highest Islamic body — has called for the man behind the video to be ‘killed’.