MAKHACHKALA, January 29. /TASS/. Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Dagestan has given start to a mass auto rally in protest against the publications of the Prophet Muhammad caricatures, the event’s organizers said on Thursday.
Some 300 cars are taking part in the event called "Russia Honors Prophets and Respects People!" that started in Dagestan’s capital Makhachkala and will end in Simferopol, Crimea.
The participants are the representatives of Dagestan’s administration and the government, the republic’s Spiritual Department of Muslims, as well as famous athletes, journalists, public figures and students, said the press service of the Committee on Freedom of Conscience and Cooperation with Religious Organizations of Dagestan.
The auto rally will go through Grozny, Magas, Vladikavkaz, Nalchik, Stavropol, Krasnodar, Kerch where meetings with local authorities will be held. The participants plan to arrive in Simferopol on Friday.
The goal of the race is to strengthen the good neighborly relations between the regions of Russia and show unity of the country’s Muslim community, the organizers said. Together with the participants, two KAMAZ trucks carrying humanitarian aid will be sent to Crimea.
In Kazan, thousands of Muslims of Russia’s Tatarstan republic will be wearing "I Love Prophet" badges in protest against the caricatures, which were first published in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo and later reprinted by a number of other Western media.
The controversial publication resulted in a January 7 attack on the headquarters of the magazine in Paris, which killed 12 people. Five others were shot dead in related shootings near the French capital in early January.