A newspaper columnist condemning Islamic State and the Taliban triggered demonstrations in several Afghan cities on Friday, with protesters denouncing the article as blasphemous and calling on the government to punish the publication.
In Kabul, a crowd of approximately 500 people, including clerics and several members of parliament, gathered in front of the Eid Gah Mosque, the city's second largest house of worship. Religious leader Fazl Hadi Wazin said:
The government must stop the people who insulted the prophet, the Qur'an and Islam, and prevent them from leaving the country
In an opinion piece published last week in the English-language daily the Afghanistan Express, a journalist named AJ Ahwar admonished Muslims for remaining silent in the face of Islamic State and the Taliban. He also criticised Islam for not accepting
other religions and minorities such as homosexuals and Hazaras, a Shia minority in Afghanistan.
The article ended by concluding that human beings are more important than God, which seemed to particularly incense protesters.