Muslims took to the streets in huge protests around Asia after Friday prayers, sparked by remarks about Prophet Muhammad 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 made derogatory references to Islam and Prophet Muhammad on a TV debate show.
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 (Muhammad) by Indian government officials,” said Amanullah Aman, a protester in the capital Dhaka. “We want death penalties for them.”
Elsewhere in the capital, social media footage showed students of the prestigious Jamia Millia Islamia university burning an effigy of Nupur Sharma — the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokeswoman whose comments set off the furor.
Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir cut the restive territory’s internet connections, restricted prayer congregations at mosques and imposed a curfew on Friday.
A spontaneous shutdown saw businesses close across Srinagar, the region’s major city, with protesters calling for retribution against “disrespect” to Prophet Muhammad.