The leader of Pakistani politico-religious party Jamaat-e Islami is claiming that the Western "extremist standpoint" on the freedom of news organizations to publish "blasphemous caricatures" of Islam's prophet Muhammad will ultimately lead to World War III.
In addressing the thousands in attendance at a Friday protest over the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which publicized cartoons portraying Muhammad, the influential chief of the Jamaat-e Islami party, Sirajul Haq, demanded that the United Nations make laws designed to prevent the media and others from mocking religious personalities.
Haq explained that the West's leniency and tolerance in dealing with those who mock Islam by publishing Muhammad's image could lead to yet another Great War, The Express Tribune reports.
"The path that the West has chosen will take the world to a third world war," Haq asserted.
Although many in Western nations see the employees of Charlie Hebdo as victims of a violent extremist attack against freedom of press, freedom of speech and freedom of religion, thousands of Muslims, including moderate Muslims, have angrily protested over the magazine's publicized and distributed depiction of their prophet.
Although the Quran doesn't explicitly say that depicting Muhammad is forbidden, a number of Muslim teachings have expressly prohibited such portrayal of the prophet.
Haq also demanded that France apologize for allowing Charlie Hebdo to hurt the feelings of "billions of Muslims across the world." Other protesters urged for a boycott of French products.
Another Jamaat-e Islami activist, Abdul Mastan, demanded that the Pakistani government bar the French ambassador from Pakistan.
On Friday, a coalition of religious parties in Pakistan made up of Jamaat-e Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, issued bounties on the staff of Charlie Hebdo who were responsible for creating cartoons with Muhammad's caricature depicted.
According to the report, the bounties have been set for 100 million rupees, which equates to a little over $1.6 million.
Protests, led by the aforementioned religious political parties have popped up all over Pakistan. Hundreds and thousands have rallied in numerous events within the districts of Charsadda, Mardan, Peshawar, Hazara Division, Shangla, Chitral and Mohmand.
In a demonstration held in the town of Tangi Tehsil in the Charsadda district, the parties' religious leaders demanded that the Muslim world unite in protesting and ending blasphemous freedom of speech.
Muslims are not the only ones who have been protesting Charlie Hebdo's blasphemous cartoons. As the Express Tribune points out, a protest in the town of Tando was organized by a Hindu community, where dozens of Hindu residents marched in opposition to the cartoons.
The Associated Press also reports that dozens of Christians protested the Charlie Hebdo cartoons in their own demonstration in Peshawar. The Christians demanded that the magazine be banned and also burned the French flag.