PESHAWAR, Pakistan — At least 150 people gathered here Tuesday and offered prayers for two men identified as the attackers who opened fire at a Texas event featuring caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
A local cleric, Pir Mohammad Chishti, head of a madrassa in Peshawar, organized the funeral in absentia. He and other men, through loudspeakers installed on vehicles, called for people to come out of their homes and pay respects to the men, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, whom he called "martyrs of Islam."
"Come forward and prove your love and loyalty with Islam and our beloved Prophet Mohammad," the cleric told people.
By noon, 150 to 200 people had gathered.
Chishti said he was proud of the bravery of the two men. "The two martyrs proved their love and loyalty with Islam. They are the real heroes of Islam, and we must be proud on their courage," the cleric told attendees.
After the funeral, he led a walk and chanted slogans against the U.S. and other Western countries for what he said was "desecrating Islam and Islamic heroes."
The cleric said that the United States and other countries "provoke the Muslims on violence" by organizing events where Islam is made fun of.
The same cleric held a similar funeral in absentia in January for the brothers who gunned down 12 people at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The cleric also called those brothers "heroes of Islam."
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— Mushtaq Yusufzai