Valley Clerics Call For Shutdown, Protests Against French Magazine Charlie Hebdo

21 January 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
M Aamir Khan

Srinagar: The Mutahida Ulmayee Aehlay Sunnah (MUAS), a conglomerate of several religious bodies, today called for a shutdown to protest the publishing of the caricatures of Prophet Muhammad by the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. The Valley clerics are also planning to meet diplomats of Islamic countries to decide the future course of action to tackle the growing 'Islamophobia' and publishing of blasphemous cartoons. Talking to the reporters here today, chief spokesperson of the MUAS Qazi Ahmad Yasir appealed to the people, especially transporters and business community, to observe a shutdown on January 23. He said peaceful protests will also be taken out from various mosques and shrines of the Kashmir valley on Friday. Yasir termed the publishing of cartoons a reaction to the growth of Islam. 'Not just in Asia and Africa, Islam is growing and becoming popular in the Europe as well and probably this is the reason why the European countries have become victims of Islamophobia.' He said the body would form a joint strategy with the Muslim countries in this regard. 'In the first week of February, we will send a delegation to New Delhi and meet the ambassadors of Islamic countries. After consultations, we will decide the future course of action,' the spokesperson said. Yasir said the MUAS would also be meeting the separatist groups to make their Friday's protest a success. The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), led by chairman Yasin Malik, has already extended support to the shutdown call. Yasir, meanwhile, said the MUAS would not allow the government to settle the West Pakistan refugees in Jammu and Kashmir.