Shouting slogans, tens of thousands of anti-Shia protesters rallied in Pakistan’s Karachi, in the second day of protests that have sparked fears of sectarian violence.
The rallies follow blasphemy accusations against Shia leaders in Sunni-majority Pakistan after a broadcast of an Ashura procession in August showed clerics and participants allegedly making disparaging remarks about historic Islamic figures.
Ashura commemorates the killing of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Hussein at the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD — the defining moment of the religion’s schism and the birth of Shia Islam.
The rally was organized by the Sunni organization Jamaat Ahle Sunnat and the hardline Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, which has organized violent protests over alleged blasphemy in the past.
“If you play with the religious sentiments of the Sunni, we will not tolerate it,” Karachi TLP chief Allama Abid Mubara told the rally.
Sunni people could ultimately “get their heads cut off, but can also behead other people,” he added.