Blasphemy riots: 6 examples around the world

Many Muslims consider any depiction of the prophet to be forbidden, and Islamic teachings call for handling the Quran with respect. Incidents of both intentional and unintentional disrespect have occasionally prompted protests and violence around the world. Here are six examples:

Not just Western offenders

Accusations of blasphemy and large-scale riots aren’t directed at Westerners alone: Local accounts of questioning the Quran or offending the prophet Muhammad have commonly led to mob violence and protests as well.

In 2005, a Pakistani man was killed after a mob of close to 400 people – instigated by the local mullah – chased him up a tree after an argument with his wife led him to throw a Quran, which then hit the floor, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

Another example took place in Pakistan in 2009, when local Christians were accused of desecrating the Quran at a wedding celebration, according to Agence-France Presse. A mob burned homes and churches in the Punjab town of Gojra and killed close to 10 people.

And in 2012 a mob of roughly 2,000 people took a mentally disabled man from a police station in Punjab and attacked him for reportedly burning pages of the Quran. Pakistani legislation says insulting the prophet can be punishable by death and defacing a Quran can lead to life in prison, though to date no one has been executed via death penalty for blasphemy charges, reports the AFP.

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