Cartoon Riots Threaten Pakistani Religious Minorities

February 20, 2006

Source: IRIN News

On February 20, 2006 IRIN News reported, "Mobs... rampaged through [Lahore] city streets on 14 February, burning random targets, including parked cars and motorcycles, as part of ongoing protests against the publication in a Danish newspaper of cartoons seen by many Muslims as blasphemous. The building of the Punjab Assembly, a local bank and several commercial plazas located along The Mall, Lahore’s main commercial artery, were among those set ablaze. Three people have been killed so far and tensions remain high, with further sporadic incidents of unrest reported. Similar violence has shaken the northern city of Peshawar and also affected life in the federal capital Islamabad. The volatile situation has also meant that members of minority communities in Lahore and other Pakistani cities are feeling insecure. Around some churches an attempt has been made to set up rudimentary barricades and in the Rehmania colony area, groups of young Christian men keep watch over the local church, acting as a makeshift vigilante force."