Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Geert Wilders cancels Muhammad cartoon contest after Pakistan protests

Wilders Pakistan Senate Passes Resolution Condemning Geert Wilders’ Mohammed Cartoon Contest The Associated Press 29 Aug 2018
Leonard Rios | 02 September, 2018, 12:56

Anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders on Thursday canceled a planned Prophet Muhammad cartoon competition, which had angered Muslims and prompted criticism at home over the provocative idea.

"To avoid the risk of victims of Islamic violence, I have chose to not let the cartoon contest go ahead", he said.

Pakistan has already complained to the Dutch government about far-right parliamentarian Geert Wilders' plans for a cartoon contest that will upset and provoke Muslims.

A similar protest held by TLP past year saw Pakistan's capital Islamabad shut down for almost a month.

On August 30, a 26-year-old man of Pakistani descent who had threatened on Facebook to attack Wilders was remanded in custody by a judge in the Dutch capital, The Hague.

Earlier in June, Wilders announced plans for a cartoon contest to depict Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

In 2005, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published cartoons of Prophet Mohammad that sparked a wave of protest across the Muslim world and several attempts to kill either its editor or cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. Physical depictions of God or the prophet, even positive ones, are forbidden in Islam and considered deeply offensive.

The contest was to have been held at the tightly guarded offices of his Party for Freedom in the Dutch parliament building.

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The rally, led by TLP's wheelchair-bound chief, Khadim Husain Rizvi, began from Lahore on Wednesday afternoon.

"My point about the intolerant nature of Islam has been proved again by this", he said.

"The matter of blasphemous caricature is an issue for every Muslim and we need to tell the West that they can not hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims around the globe", he said.

PVV leader Geert Wilders chose to cancel a featuring Islamic religious figure prophet Mohammed, due to threats made against him, he said on Twitter. The Dutch government has distanced itself from the contest but says it is committed to upholding the right to free speech.

TLP protesters gathered at Data Darbar in Lahore, from where they started marching towards Islamabad at 4pm on Wednesday.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said: "They don't understand how much they hurt us when they do such acts".

Following a protest by Pakistan's Foreign Office and other Muslim countries, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte termed Wilders' move as "not respectful", distancing his government from the plan.

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