800,000 people participate in Grozny rally in support of Chechen strongman Kadyrov against cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. (Asiaplus).
A huge crowd turned out in Grozny, the capital of Russia’s Chechen Republic yesterday for a demonstration against caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Some media sources report that the rally drew 800,000 people.
Many demonstrators held uniform signs featuring a crimson heart with "Muhammad" written in Arabic and the words "We Love Our Prophet" in Chechen, Russian, and English. Young boys wore baseball caps that also said "Muhammad" in Arabic. Red balloons sailed into the sky near the huge Grozny mosque.
Speaking at the rally, Chechnya President Ramzan Kadyrov said, “This is a protest against those who try to insult the religious feelings of Muslims all over the world. This is a protest against those who deliberately incite a worldwide fire of religious and ethnic hatred.”
Kadyrov said "Europe has not drawn the right lessons" from the Paris attacks. “Instead of condemning those who opened fire, and those who with their cartoon were the reason for that, the French authorities organized a street show with slogans in support of the permissiveness that led to the bloodshed.”
“It was attended by presidents, prime ministers, and royals," he said, referring to rallies in France.“This gives us a legal right to say that it is the Western powers and intelligence services that may stand behind the incident with the cartoons, interested in triggering a new wave of ISIL recruits of thousands of deceived young people from around the world,” Kadyrov said.Other leaders reportedly echoed Kadyrov in speeches to the demonstrators.
“We must tell the whole world: We love the Prophet Muhammad and will not allow anyone to offend the religious sensitivities of Muslims," the Grand Mufti of Russia, Ravil Gainutdin, told the crowd in remarks broadcast live on state TV.
Gainutdin also criticized terrorist attacks carried out by Islamist militants.
Non-Muslim clerics also took part in the rally, and one speaker led a chant of “Muhammad and Jesus!”
“The entire Russian Orthodox Church condemns people who make caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad," said Bishop Varlaam, the regional head of the Russian Orthodox Church. We...say 'no' to the evil that the West is trying to sow between our religions.”
We will recall that rallies in France drew more than 3 million people on January 11 in a demonstration of solidarity with the victims of the attack on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and support for freedom of speech.
Charlie Hebdo reportedly had a history of publishing controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that angered Muslim leaders in France, the Middle East and other parts of the world. The magazine for years received threats from social media users because depictions of the prophet are forbidden in Islam.
The preparation of actions in support of Kadyrov in Grozny became known back on January 18, when Igor Kalyapin, the head of the non-profit organization (NPO) "Committee to Prevent Torture" (CPT), informed about it with reference to a resident of Grozny.
"On Friday, Grozny will host a rally in support of Kadyrov. Unfortunately, I'll have to go, otherwise, a dismissal..." Igor Kalyapin quoted a Chechen resident on his page in the Facebook, adding today that teachers and senior pupils were also ordered to appear at the Kadyrov's support rally on January 22.