Members of the Pakistani community in Athens protested against so-called blasphemy in India against Mohammed, the founder of Islam, on June 19, 2022.
Seen among the two to three dozen Pakistanis to protest in front of the Indian Embassy in Athens on June 19 was the flag of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) Islamist party.
The few dozen Pakistanis were protesting due to the comments made by spokesperson for India’s ruling BJP party, Nupur Sharma, who commented on Muhammad’s youngest wife Aisha during a televised debate earlier this month, specifically about how old she was believed to be when they married.
She was suspended, along with another BJP spokesperson, Naveen Jindal, who made a separate comment about Islam on social media.
Muslim groups in India have demanded their arrest.
The Pakistanis in Athens not only deemed it supposedly necessary to protest against this in the Greek capital, but showed their opposition to India by displaying the flag of the radical Pakistani TLP.
The party was founded by Khadim Hussain Rizvi in August 2015 and became the fifth largest party in 2018 Pakistani general election, but failed to win any seat in National Assembly and Punjab Assembly.
TLP is known for its protests in opposition to any change to Pakistan’s blasphemy law and demands that Sharia be established as the Islamic fundamental law in Pakistan, through a gradual legal and political process.
According to Islam, death is mandatory in cases of blasphemy, for both Muslim men and women.
In 2018, when the Dutch politician Geert Wilders announced that he was planning to hold a contest to draw caricatures of Muhammad, there were large protests in Pakistan against it.
It was in this context that TLP leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi declared in front of media that he would order nuclear bomb strikes on the Netherlands to destroy the entire country and “wipe them off the map” he was given the chance to or if he became Pakistan’s leader.
He is quoted to have said at a press conference in Karachi: “If they give me the atom bomb, I would remove Holland from the face of the earth before they can hold a competition of caricatures… I will wipe them off the face of this earth.”
Eventually Geert Wilders cancelled his proposed cartoon contest citing fears of security risks.
In late October 2020, just after the killing of French schoolteacher Samuel Paty in a suburb of Paris by an 18-year old Chechen refugee, TLP published an article on their official website where they commended the killing.
They labelled the killer as a “Shaheed” and “Mujahid”, and posted a photo of the bloodied severed head of Samuel Paty in the same article on which the killer initially posted to Twitter just after the killing.
The post was deleted by Twitter soon afterwards.
The display of the TLP flag in Athens one that should certainly raise concern and catch the attention of the police.