Huge anti-France rally in B’desh as Macron backlash widens Oct 28, 2020 0 1200 12345 AFPDhakaTens of thousands of protesters marched through the Bangladesh capital on Tuesday in the biggest anti-France rally since President Emmanuel Macron defended cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.Muslims across the world have reacted furiously to Macron’s robust defence of the right to mock religion following the murder of a French schoolteacher who had shown his pupils cartoons of the prophet.In Syria people burned pictures of France’s leader, tricolour flags were torched in the Libyan capital Tripoli, while French goods have been pulled from supermarket shelves in Qatar, Kuwait and other Gulf states.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan even compared the treatment of Muslims in Europe to that of Jews before World War II, joining calls for a boycott of French goods which Paris said had had minimal impact so far.In Dhaka, protesters set alight an effigy of Macron during Tuesday’s march, in which police said 40,000 people took part. Hundreds of armed officers used a barbed-wire barricade to stop the demonstrators, who dispersed without violence before they could get close to the French embassy.The rally was called by Islami Andolon Bangladesh (IAB), one of the country’s largest Islamist parties, and started at the biggest mosque in the nation. Bangladesh is around 90-percent Muslim.“Boycott French products”, demonstrators chanted.Ataur Rahman, a senior Islami Andolon member, told the rally at the Baitul Mukarram national mosque: “Macron is one of the few leaders who worship Satan.”Rahman called on the Bangladesh government to “kick out” the French ambassador, while another protest leader, Hasan Jamal, said activists would “tear down every brick of that building” if the envoy was not ordered out.“France is the enemy of Muslims,” said Nesar Uddin, a young leader of the group. “Those who represent them are also our enemies.”The October 16 beheading of high-school teacher Samuel Paty by a Chechen extremist caused deep shock in France.Paty had shown his students some of the Mohammed cartoons, over which 12 people were massacred at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015. Depictions of the Prophet Mohammed are seen as offensive by many Muslims, but in France such cartoons have become identified with a proud secular tradition dating back to the Revolution and the issue of freedom of expression.In the aftermath of Paty’s murder, Macron issued a passionate defence of free speech and France’s secular way of life, vowing that the country “will not give up cartoons”.France has been targeted in a string of jihadist attacks that have killed over 250 people since 2015 and led to deep soul-searching over the impact of Islam on the country’s core values. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Child malnutrition surges in Yemen: UN Oct 28, 2020 0 352 At least seven killed in blast at Pakistan religious school Oct 28, 2020 0 343 Iran’s virus deaths exceed 33,000 with new records Oct 28, 2020 0 39 Almost 30 dead as Syria government forces clash with Islamic State Beirut: Clashes on Tuesday in the Syrian desert between Russia-backed regime forces and Islamic State group jihadists have killed almost 30 fighters, a Britain-based war monitor said. Battles have been ongoing in .. Five dead, dozens wounded in attack on Afghan police base Khost: An hours-long attack on an Afghan police special forces base involving car bombs and an intense firefight killed five policemen and wounded dozens of people, officials said Tuesday, as violence continued to ..