Setting fire to a country’s flag is arguably one of the worst insults that can be invoked against a fellow nation.
But flags are being burned on the streets of Karachi – an indication of the depth of outrage in Pakistan at what for Muslims is equally offensive,
the burning of the Koran, or holy book.
Some brandished cartoons, in a parody of the 2005 row with Denmark over depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.
In Karachi, Muslims and Christians alike denounced the plans.
“The desecration of any holy book is appalling, it hurts religious and spiritual sentiments. I think people who do this kind of thing are mentally ill.” said the Bishop of Karachi, Sadiq Daniel.
In Islamabad, Pakistan’s Foreign Office was unequivocal in its condemnation:
“We strongly condemn this fanatical approach and oppose those who, in the name of liberty and freedom, are resorting to bigotry and undermining the work that has been done towards inter-faith harmony since 9’11”, said a Foreign Office spokesman.
The France-based international police agency Interpol is warning governments worldwide of the increased risk of terrorist attacks.
The Convocation of American Churches in Europe has also said Christians living in majority muslim countries could be at risk of reprisals.
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