One person has been killed after protesters took to the streets in the Mauritanian capital to denounce the desecration of multiple copies of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, by a group of unknown men.
A 21-year-old man was killed in clashes between demonstrators and police in the capital city of Nouakchott on Monday, after he inhaled a large amount of tear gas, an unidentified medical official confirmed.
Police fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators after they gathered to march on the presidential palace and to demand the arrest of those responsible for the sacrilegious act at a mosque in the north of the city.
Four unidentified men dressed in turbans are suspected of entering the mosque in the early hours on Monday, removing the books and profaning them by throwing them in the mosque's toilet, a local religious authority said.
The incident marks the latest in a series of disrespectful acts committed against some of Islam’s sacred items.
In January, US forces raided a mosque in the troubled southwestern Afghanistan region and desecrated the Muslims’ holy book.
In recent years, US troops have burned copies of the holy book, prompting massive street protests and drawing condemnations from top Afghan officials.
Meanwhile in the United States, infamous pastor Terry Jones burned copies of Quran in March 2011 and April 2012, and later openly backed an anti-Muslim Hollywood film insulting the holy Prophet of Islam.
He was arrested last year in September, however, before he could burn nearly 3,000 copies of the Holy Quran on the anniversary of September 11 attacks.
The Holy Quran is treated with great reverence by Muslims, with its desecration seen as a grave offense.