British Muslims Gather In London To Protest Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

| by Kendal Mitchell
British Prime Minister David Cameron.British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Around 1,000 Muslims protested in London on Feb. 8 in response to depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

Holding signs like, "to insult is not freedom" and "stand up for the Prophet," protesters gathered to voice their disapproval against French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

During the rally, a petition calling for British Prime Minister David Cameron to condemn the actions of people or organizations that disrespect the religion and any responding violence circulated the crowd.

The petition, which has around 100,000 signatures, called the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, "an affront to the norms of civilized society."

In January, suspected Islamic extremists attacked Charlie Hebdo’s Paris offices, killing 12 people. Cameron, along with 40 other world leaders, walked in a unity march on Jan. 11 in Paris to pay their respects to the slain journalists.

When Charlie Hebdo decided to print a new Prophet Muhammad cartoon a week after the attack, Cameron said he thought the government has no right to limit press freedom.

"It's not for politicians to tell magazines or television stations or radio stations what they should publish or what they shouldn't publish," he said.

He added he thinks even though an image or joke may offend a group of people, it should not be used as an excuse for violence.

"I'm a Christian. I obviously don't like seeing the religious things I hold dear mocked in an unpleasant way. But in a free country if people want to attack my religion and my beliefs you accept that because that's part of living in a free country," Cameron said.

Some at the rally said they think the British government should not condone the actions of people who mock the Prophet Muhammad.

A representative of the Muslim Action Forum, a group that helped organize the rally, said it believes the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists are creating unrest in the worldwide Muslim population.

“(The cartoonists are) sowing the seeds of hatred,” said a Muslim Action Forum representative. 

The protest led to no arrests and ended with speeches and a prayer. 

Sources: RT, The Telegraph (2), CNN Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons