Members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) on Tuesday protested in Abuja against French President Emmanuel Macron over an offensive publication of the Prophet Muhammad by a citizen of the European country.
The Islamic group also known as Shi’ites burnt the national flag of France at the Wuse market area of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
It was learnt that the members of the sect gathered in large numbers at Nitel Junction, before they commenced the demonstration by 12:00 noon, and ended the march at Wuse Market by 1:10 pm, causing serious traffic gridlock along the way.
The angry protesters chanted religious phrases and songs, as they condemned President Macron’s comment that Islam was the source of international terrorism, and his defense of the offensive caricature, which Muslims say is an insult to their prophet.
Though some policemen were sighted on the scene of the protest, they did not disperse the IMN youths who paralyzed commercial activities for over an hour in the Wuse District of the FCT as traders locked up their shops and stayed away over fear of attacks.
Speaking with newsmen during the rally, the Secretary of the Academic Forum of the movement, Abdullahi Musa, said that the burning of the French national flag aimed at condemning the action of the French President over the derogatory publication.
“Prophet Muhammad is a symbol of peace, unity, and humanity in general. Publishing his cartoon is a total disrespect and anti unity and global peace.
“So, we set the France Flag on fire in a reaction to the attack on Islam and Muslims by the President of France Emmanuel Macron since the heinous crime of publishing cartoons of the Prophet by the magazine Charlie Hebdo.
“We also applaud the current campaign against the actions of the French President by Muslims across the world and all lovers of peace and humanity,” he said.
The Islamic sect members also demanded the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, who are currently in prison custody since last year.
This is coming just few days after Malaysia’s former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, said that Muslims have the right “to kill millions of French people”.