LAHORE – The surroundings of the US Consulate turned into a battle zone on Monday when hundreds of workers of Majlis Wahdatul Muslemin (MWM) tried to reach the US mission to hand over a protest memorandum against the sacrilegious movie.

The MWM rally, which was led by its Punjab General Secretary Abdul Khaliq Asadi had set ablaze the US and Israeli flags outside the Press Club, situated a few meters away, before reaching the outer security barriers of the US Consulate.

The charged protesters including youth and women engaged in a hand to hand combat with the police, which baton-charged the protesters and used tear gas as well to disperse them.

Some of the protesters raising slogans against the US crossed over several security fences lined with razor wires to reach a few yards from the consulate building.

They pulled out a US flag hoisted on some kiosk and brought it back to the main cordon of police amidst cops chasing them and beating them with batons. They set the US flag on fire as a symbol of their victory against the country in which the blasphemous movie was released on internet.

The demonstrators asked the policemen that they could not call themselves Muslims by protecting the blasphemers and trying to injure those who were protesting in an attempt to guard the honour of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Several protesters received minor injuries in the protest.

The protesters later staged a sit-in for more than one hour and dispersed peacefully. The MWM leaders addressing the participants on this occasion said the government instead of taking a tough line against the blasphemers shooting their citizens who were out to protest against the blasphemy.

They demanded of the government for cutting diplomatic ties with Washington and expel all the US emissaries and other officials. They paid tributes to Karachi martyrs and said Muslim Ummah was ready to offer more sacrifices since nothing was dearer to Muslims than the honour of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

They announced that protests would continue till Obama offered unconditional apology to the Muslims, punished the filmmakers and other habitual blasphemers and take practical steps to prevent blasphemy by bringing in legislation.

Meanwhile, the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) will hold countrywide protest demonstrations on September 21 against the blasphemous movie, announces SIC Chairman Sahibzada Fazal Karim.

Talking to the media at Allama Iqbal International Airport on his return from Karachi on Monday, Karim stressed upon the Muslim world to devise a joint strategy to counter the sacrilegious acts against the Prophet of Islam.

Fazal said it was not the Muslims who were extremists but the Americans, as no Muslim dare to commit blasphemy against any Prophet. Questioning the silence of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) over this serious issue, he demanded an immediate session of the OIC to come up with a joint reply of the Muslim nations.

Meanwhile, PTI secretary general Dr Arif Alvi written a letter to Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt to block the blasphemous movie on Youtube. In his letter, he said posting of this sacrilegious video had already resulted in many deaths across the world.

“In this new era of communication, Google has a far bigger role than the role of countries in its impact on society and therefore it must rise to the occasion and move beyond a stereotypical interpretation of Freedom of Speech,” Alvi maintained in his letter.

Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Liaqat Baloch, talking on the same issue during Azmat-e-Rasool conference, said the anti-Islam movie that had created hatred among the people and triggered violent reaction did not fall in the category of freedom of expression and the West’s claim in this regard was not logical.

Baloch said public sentiments should be kept in view before taking any decision or releasing such a blasphemous movie. He said the Vatican Pope had also uttered blasphemous outrage in Germany against the Islam and the Holy Prophet, while the US pastor Terry Jones was also doing the same.