Lal Masjid Rage.
Muslim protesters have burnt effigies of Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf and American icon “Uncle Sam” in mass rallies against this week’s deadly Red Mosque army raid.
“The military action on the Red Mosque is causing hatred in the hearts of Muslims in Pakistan,” former parliamentarian Hafiz Fazal Mohammad told hundreds marching in the south-western city of Quetta, near the Afghan border.
Protesters in the 700-strong rally then set fire to a likeness of General Musharraf, the US-backed military ruler who ordered the assault on the Islamabad mosque compound that left 86 people dead.
“The Red Mosque has been turned into pool of blood of innocent Muslims,” Anwarul Haq Haqqani, a local leader of religious party Tahafuz Khatam-e-Nabowat Pakistan, said.
“This was a barbaric action.”
The army says the raid killed 11 soldiers and 75 people inside the mosque, most of them militants, although an army spokesman said 19 of the bodies were so badly burned “they could be anybody, any gender, any age.”
Another 20,000 men, women and children offered prayers for the victims at a mosque in Lahore run by a hardline Islamist group that has been black-listed by the United States as a terrorist organisation.
Protesters there set fire to a puppet of “Uncle Sam,” the national personification of the United States with a goatee and top hat, and waved banners threatening revenge against General Musharraf and US President George W Bush.
“Killer, killer, Musharraf, killer!” the crowd chanted. “Justice, justice, we seek justice!”
“This was genocide, hundreds of innocent women and children died,” cleric Mohammad Saeed, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the political wing of the banned Kashmiri militant group Laskhar-e-Taiba, said.
“It is state terrorism, it is extreme brutality and those who killed the innocent will have a horrible fate,” Saeed said….