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Violent Protests Against Muhammad Film Spread Across Muslim World

New Protests Erupt In Muslim Countries Over Controversial Filmi
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September 13, 2012
Protests are spreading across Muslim countries in response to a low-budget film, produced in the United States, that mocks the Prophet Muhammad. After the initial unrest broke out in Benghazi, Libya, and Cairo, Egypt, on September 11, protests continued in Cairo; angry crowds stormed the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen; and protesters burned U.S. flags in Baghdad, Iraq, and Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Reuters)
By RFE/RL
Demonstrators have stormed the U.S. Embassy in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, as anger continued to spread across the Muslim world over a private film project that mocks the Prophet Muhammad.

In Yemen, hundreds of protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy compound in Sanaa on September 13, breaking windows, torching vehicles, and burning the U.S. flag, before police drove them out by using water cannon, tear gas, and warning shots.

At least three people were reported killed and more than 30 injured. The U.S. State Department said all embassy staff members were safe and accounted for.

In Cairo, also on September 13, police clashed with demonstrators staging their third day of protests outside the U.S. Embassy against the low-budget film project.

More than 220 people were reported injured in the violence.

One protester, identified as Abdullah Ibrahim Muhammad, explained why he came to the protest.

"We will never accept that our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, might be humiliated. And this is against even freedom everywhere, as somebody said before me," the protester said.

"There is freedom everywhere in the world, except for Muslims. Muslims are shown as terrorists. They do not give us our liberty or our freedom."

In Iraq, thousands marched in the Shi'ite stronghold of Al-Sadr City in northeast Baghdad, shouting "No, no, to Israel! No, no to America!" and "Yes, yes for Messenger of God."

Smaller protests were held in Iran, Kuwait, Gaza, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Bangladesh.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has condemned the film, canceled an official visit to Norway amid concerns over possible violence. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry said the Afghan leader felt he needed to stay home following recent events.

Anger Among Cast, Crew

Mystery remains over exactly who was behind the film that has sparked the protests, amid conflicting reports of Jewish or Coptic Christian involvement.

Steve Klein, a consultant on the movie project, denied that Israeli authorities were involved. He also admitted that the named used by the film director -- Sam Bacile -- is a pseudonym.

The film has not been completed, but excerpt footage has been posted on YouTube. Cast members and crew who worked on the project also are voicing anger about it. They say they did not know the film was insulting the Prophet Muhammad because offensive dialogue was overdubbed after the filming.

Despite uncertainties over the filmmaker, anti-U.S. protests continued to spread across the Muslim world on September 13.

In Tehran, additional security forces were stationed outside the Swiss Embassy on September 13 as Iranian students demonstrated against the film. The United States does not have an embassy in Iran, so Switzerland often serves as an intermediary for Washington.

'We Will Not Forgive Them'

In Iraq, the Asaib al-Haq militia, an Iraqi group that carried out attacks against foreigners during the Iraq war, threatened all U.S. interests in that country.

The group's leader, Qais al-Khazali said, "The offense caused to the messenger [Prophet Muhammad] will put all American interests in danger and we will not forgive them for that."

Police also clashed with demonstrators outside the U.S. embassy compounds in Tunisia and Sudan late on September 12.

On September 11, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi while a crowd protested the film.

Libyan Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur told the AFP news agency that some arrests had been made over the attack.

U.S. officials are investigating whether Al-Qaeda-linked militants used the Benghazi protest as cover while staging an attack on the building.

U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered security strengthened at all U.S. facilities overseas following the violence in Libya.

On September 13, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated that the U.S. government had nothing to do with the film, which she called "disgusting and reprehensible." She said it "appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage."

But she said there was no justification for responding to the video with violence.

"It is especially wrong for violence to be directed against diplomatic missions. These are places whose very purpose is peaceful, to promote better understanding across countries and cultures," she said. "All governments have a responsibility to protect those spaces and people."

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he feared the Middle East is at risk of descending into "chaos." In televised comments, Putin condemned the killing of the U.S. ambassador and the three other Americans in Libya.

"It is the murder of diplomats we are talking about here, the people who are protected by the international conventions, the life and health of which are protected by the international legislation," Putin said.

"And if someone does not recognize that, then these people are putting themselves not only outside of law, but outside the modern civilization."

He urged new governments that came to power following Arab Spring uprisings to take full responsibility for security in their countries.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, and dpa
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bill Webb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
September 13, 2012 14:12
Overpopulation control is a self-fulfilling prophesy. They get themselves all worked up into a tizzy and burn and kill just to be burning and killing.

by: PragueGuy from: Prague
September 13, 2012 14:41
I challenge RFE/RL and the rest of the liberal "touchie-feelie" media to call these ATTACKS - they are not protests!
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
September 14, 2012 15:29
So, Prague guy, how is it going :-))? I see you, guys, are continuing to win no matter what :-)). Good luck and I wish you many more such victories in the future :-)).
Cheers from Vienna!

by: john237 from: usa
September 13, 2012 19:09
WHEN WE WILL GET IT? Americans and the Westerners think that their culture, freedom, democracy and way of life is the best among all the others culture, civilization and races among the world. But in reality it is not so. Each human being has pride for his/her race, culture and way of life; living for many centuries more than we Americans. It is next to impossible to impose our democracy, freedom and way of life on others; otherwise they may not say any think loudly under our economical, political and military pressure but they ALL HATE US under their hearts. More over, the Muslims, who are 1.6 billions all around the world have many times more reservation about our intention of preaching them forcefully to change their behavior, conduct, race and religion outlook only for our own benefit. It is true; because, we have exploited them fully for the last several decades using our double standards diplomacy. It may be very easy for us to understand our thoughts of freedom of speech and religion but it is next to impossible for them to buy it and when some one would like to draw a filthy picture of their Supreme idol, who is next to their God. Also, by taking sides (wrongly) with Israel on many political issues, we have hurt their feelings and betrayed their trust. The bottom line, majority of Muslims around the globe will NOT accept our treatment of Muslims in general . Therefore, it will be much better that our policy makers must take a deep breathe and accept their legitimate grievances and try our own way of looking to them OR we will continue our WAR ON TERRORISM for ever making it more and more bloodier, costlier, finally; we will continue to sacrifice our freedom, civil rights, and of course way of life too.

by: Jack from: US
September 13, 2012 20:08
if US government and its NATO minions considered it is perfectly OK to murder colonel Gaddafi and his family, including grand-children, most people in the world would consider killing of US ambassador an act of justice. Contratulations to Hillary Clinton whose friends and allies carried out the act of justice
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
September 14, 2012 15:26
A very good point, Jack, as usual. I would also like to say that it is just so amusing to see how such cheap US propaganda web-sites as the the RFE/RL have been going out of their way during the Summer months in order to make a big deal out of such "issues" as the Pussy Riot Kinderspiel or the imprisonment of Julia Tmoshenko - all until the Fall arrived and made real ISSUES explode in the smart faces of these Beavuses and Buttheads.
So, face it, RFE/RL: what is happening in the Arab world today is an expression of a normal and natural feeling shared by 90 per cent of the world population - the feeling of hatred towards ALL the citizens of the US and everything criminal that you represent, be it killing people in Lybia, Iraq or Afghanistan, or torturing people in Guantanamo, or even helplessly trying to present every kick in your ... anywhere in the world and a "great victory" of your bankrupt "values".
In Response

by: Jack from: US
September 14, 2012 17:07
But Eugenio, you don't understand. I dislike both the US and Islam. You seem to only dislike the US.
In Response

by: Jack from: US
September 14, 2012 21:59
Thanks Moisha for your valuable contribution on my behalf

by: Demetrius Minneapolis from: Someone's house
September 13, 2012 20:43
I dont see RFE using the word "unsettling" to discribe these events, but use it with regard to the trailor of a yet to be entirely seen movie.

Will you use the word "unsettling" in the article reporting that Mr.Stevens was possibly sodomized before or after his death?

Thought not.
In Response

by: Jack from: US
September 14, 2012 17:22
Mr. Stevens got a taste of what colonel Gaddafi got at the hands of US government-supported Sunni thugs.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
September 15, 2012 05:15
The further this thing develops the more it looks like what it is: a generalized uprising against the remnants of the US presence in the Middle East.
At any rate, I think these events should serve as a friendly reminder to all the authors and readers of this web-site that the real issues that millions of people in this world care about have nothing to do with the "issues" that this cheap US propaganda outlet tries to present as such. The real issue for the people in most parts of the world is how to get rid of the US and never again be a victim of US criminal policies.
In Response

by: Jack from: US
September 15, 2012 15:46
indeed, US government is picking up after what their own Sunni friends and allies left. The criminal mafia called US federal government is ruining this country, just like it ruined Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I just heard US government has arrested the author of the film about Muslims. So much for the freedom of speech or what is left of it in this country