Thousands of faithful from the North Caucasus have been gathering in Chechnya’s capital Grozny since early Monday for a rally in defense of Islamic values, a TASS correspondent has reported.
Demonstrators are holding posters reading “No to Prophet Mohammad caricatures,” and “Islam is religion of the good and creativity.” They repeat the prayers praising the Prophet.
The event, called Love for the Prophet Mohammad, has been organized at the initiative of Chechnya’s religious leaders and is expected to draw over one million people.
“Since early morning, thousands of faithful not only from our republic, but also from other North Caucasus regions, who have wished to take part in a peaceful manifestation against the publications of Prophet Mohammad caricatures, have been coming to Chechnya’s capital,” a representative for the Chechnya’s Muftis said.
Originally, some 500,000 people were expected to gather. Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov on Sunday urged all to come for the protest. People from other Russian regions will also participate in the demonstration.
“I call on everyone, who appreciates peace, stability, consent, spirituality and religious feelings, to come to Grozny and join the ranks of those who will fend off the attempts to create rivalry against religions and peoples of the world,” Kadyrov wrote on his Instagram page on Sunday.
Kadyrov said earlier he considered as his personal enemies all those who supported the right of the French weekly Charlie Hebdo and other publications to offend religious feelings of 1.5 billion Muslims of the world.
“But we must not yield to provocations. Violence is not a way out. It is not our method of struggle against immoral people. We must show our unity and love for the Prophet. It is the best response.” Kadyrov wrote.
The protesters are marching from Minutka Square to the central mosque “Heart of Chechnya” named in honour of Akhmat-Hadji Kadyrov, where the faithful will pray.
The event is attended by a delegation from the Russian Council of Muftis, led by Ravil Gainutdin.