Hundreds of Muslim worshippers in north and south Lebanon protested Friday the most recent cartoon published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo showing the Prophet Mohammad on its cover.
In the southern city of Sidon, Palestinian protesters gathered outside the Khaled Bin Walid mosque at the entrance of Ain el-Hilweh refugee camp after Friday prayers, shouting slogans denouncing the French magazine.
“Our life is yours.. O Mohammad,” “Both Mohammad and Jesus were not safe from Charlie Hebdo,” the protesters shouted.
Children wearing headbands which read “There is no god but God, Mohammad is God’s prophet” also shouted “We will not have Mohammad insulted.”
Speakers, including sheikhs and political figures, blasted Charlie Hebdo as an “atheist publication” which had slandered God’s prophets and messengers.
Abu Ahmad Fadel, the representative of Palestinian Islamic Movement, Hamas, said: “We are here to raise our voice to defend God’s prophets, especially Mohammad and Issa the son of Mariam (Jesus) against the harms done to them.”
“We should tell the world who is Mohammad. To those who do not know, Islam that was brought by Mohammad was not the Islam of terror, and not the Islam of killing, but the Islam of mercy to the world,” Fadel said.
In the meantime, security forces deployed heavily in other parts of Sidon, especially outside the French cultural Center, in anticipation of possible demonstrations in protest against the French cartoons.
In the northern city of Tripoli, several dozen protesters gathered in Abdel-Hamid Karami Square, also known as Al-Nour Square, to denounce the magazine.
Simultaneously, the army deployed heavily around Tripoli over the recent security incidents that rocked the city.
In Beirut, police briefly blocked a major road leading to the French embassy in anticipation of protesters. But the road was later reopened after protesters failed to show up.
The protests came after a series of calls by religious leaders upset over Charlie Hebdo's Wednesday issue showing a caricature of Mohammad holding a sign that read "Je suis Charlie, " or "I am Charlie," after the solidarity slogan that went viral in response to last week's attacks in France that killed 17 people.
The "survival" issue that the magazine printed Wednesday received wide opposition from Islamic authorities.
The protests in Lebanon were part of a larger series of global demonstration called to denounce the issue.
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