TOYAMA – About 200 Muslim Pakistanis from across Japan have flocked to Kosugi, Toyama Prefecture, to protest the alleged destruction of a copy of the Koran.
The protesters visited the Toyama Prefectural Police headquarters, prefectural office and Kosugi Police Station on Tuesday to ask authorities to curb anti-Islamic movements in the town.
The damaged Koran was found Monday morning in front of a used car dealership run by Pakistani Ahmed Imtiaz Gondal, 37.
In addition to the torn Koran, anti-Muslim leaflets were also found, police said.
Police promised the Pakistanis they will investigate the case under Japanese law. The Pakistanis repeatedly shouted “Allah is great,” and “We came here to do or die.”
There are a number of used car dealers run by Pakistanis along Route 8 in the town, and Japanese groups critical of foreigners have quarreled with the Pakistanis in the past over cars being parked on the road, police said.
Gondal told reporters that he reported the damaged Koran to police on Monday. He also said four Korans were stolen in March from a place for prayers in Shinminato, Toyama Prefecture, and that the ripped Koran was one of the four.
A spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy in Tokyo said he hopes Japanese people understand Pakistanis’ anger and disappointment over the inappropriate treatment of the holy text, adding that a secretary was dispatched to Toyama Prefecture to deal with the case.
Some experts say that Japanese people should become more sensitive to others’ religious beliefs at a time when a growing number of foreigners live in Japan.
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