SHAFAQNA- Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Turkey’s southeastern city of Diyarbakır on Saturday to protest a satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was the target of a deadly attack in early January for its cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad.
Around 100,000 people attended the protest held to “respect the Prophet” in Diyarbakır’s İstasyon Square and organized by the “Lovers of the Prophet Platform.” Sympathizers of Turkish Hizbullah — which has no affiliation with Lebanon’s Hezbollah — as well as Islamist Free Cause Party (Hüda-Par) Chairman Zekeriya Yapıcıoğlu and regional clerics were also present at the protest, which lasted around two hours, the private Doğan news agency reported.
The crowd sang Islamic hymns and chanted slogans in Turkish and Kurdish, saying, “I am Hizbullah in Kurdistan,” “I am Hamas in Palestine,” “I am Malcom X in the US,” “I am Sheik Zeki in Cizre” and “I am Sheikh Shamil in Chechnya.” Sheikh Shamil was the religious leader of the Muslim tribes of the Northern Caucasus. The protesters also held placards, reading phrases like: “Damn those saying ‘I am Charlie'” and the “May Charlie’s Devils not defame the Prophet.”
Kurdish and Turkish speeches were given during the demonstration. Speaking in Kurdish on behalf of the protestors, Mullah Beşir Şimşek stressed that the Lovers of the Prophet won’t acquiesce to slander against the prophet.
Delivering a speech in Turkish, Mullah Osman Teyfur said the Lovers of the Prophet may remain silence against slander directed at them, but they will not accept attacks and insults against “God’s messenger.”
“We are saying that as long as you remain hostile toward God’s messenger, we will be hostile against you. We accept the friends of God’s messenger as [our] friends, the enemy of him as [our] enemy. How dare you declare the messenger of God a terrorist? … You occupied our territories, our region. You demolished our homes. You shamed our honor. You stole our resources above and below ground. Then you blame those who resist, those with a soul akin to Muhammad’s, as terrorists. You are the real terrorists,” Teyfur said.
Teyfur also rejected the belief that being able to insult Islamic values should be regarded within the freedom of thought and blamed the West for hypocrisy. He said that the tongues of those that insulted the messenger of God should be cut.
In his remarks at the protest, Teymur claimed that Westerners fear the soul of Muhammad will come alive.
“You know that as long as we recognize Muhammad we will send you away from these territories. That is why you try to depict Muhammad as a bad person. However, today, there are thousands of Muhammads that would die for him,” Teymur stated, calling on Westerners to recognize Muhammad. “That is the only way that you can survive from this damnation. You will not be at ease any other way.”
At the end of the protest, demonstrators prayed for the Prophet Muhammad and chanted slogans in Kurdish, saying: “Long live Hizbullah!”