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Pakistan erupts over Prophet cartoon contest in Netherlands

Supporters of Tehreek-i-Labaik, which helped Imran Khan to become prime minister following last month's elections, set out on the march Wednesday, calling on him to cut ties with the Netherlands.

Published: 30th August 2018 04:52 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th August 2018 05:02 PM   |  A+A-

Pakistani protesters shout slogans during a protest against the planned anti-Islam cartoon competitions, in Karachi, Pakistan (Photo | AP)

By Associated Press

ISLAMABAD: Hard-line Islamists who started a march toward Pakistan's capital to protest a far-right Dutch lawmaker's plans to hold a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest have been stopped by police.

In June, far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who is known for his views against Islam, announced a contest for cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad. According to Guardian, there are already 200 entries for the competition, and the winner will receive prize money of USD 10,000.

Some 10,000 supporters of the Tehreek-i-Labaik group, which helped Imran Khan to become prime minister following last month's elections, set out on the march Wednesday, calling on him to cut ties with the Netherlands.

The party's spokesman, Eijaz Ashrafi, says police halted the march on Thursday in Jhelum, some 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the capital, Islamabad. He says the protesters refuse to disperse, and that police will have to "kill us" to stop the march.

Physical depictions of the prophet are forbidden in Islam and deeply offensive to Muslims. Pakistan's government has vowed to protest the contest at the UN.

The Dutch government refused to take responsibility for the contest as the politician is not part of the government. However, they responded that banning the contest would curb the freedom of expression.  

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