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Protests Grow Against Anti-Muslim Film

Lebanon's Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah makes a rare public appearance to address thousands of supporters who took to the streets of southern Beirut to denounce a film mocking Islam on September 17.
Protests against a privately-made film that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad have continued to rock the Islamic world.

Thousands of protesters marched through Beirut's Shi'ite-dominated southern suburbs on September 17 to demonstrate against "Innocence Of Muslims" -- a low-budget film thought to have been made by a small group of extremist Christians in the United States.

Hizballah leader Sayeed Hassan Nasrallah made a rare public appearance in Beirut on September 17 to denounce the excerpts from the film that have been posted to YouTube.

Nasrallah told the crowd that the "protests will continue until this movie is removed from the Internet."

He also said the United States "will face very dangerous repercussions around the world" if the film is released.

Lebanon's rallies on September 17 were peaceful compared to others across the Islamic world that have left more than a dozen people dead since September 11 when four U.S. embassy staff in Libya were killed, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Elsewhere on September 17, two people died in Pakistan after clashes with police. One was shot dead in a clash with security forces that erupted after hundreds of demonstrators torched a press club and a government building in the northwest.

The other was a protester who had been shot the previous day during a clash with police at the U.S. Consulate in Karachi.

Meanwhile, Pakistan on September 17 joined a growing list of Muslim countries that have blocked access to YouTube because the video sharing website has not removed the film excerpts.

Al-Qaeda Edict

In Kabul on September 17, demonstrators burned vehicles and threw rocks at a U.S. military base in the Afghan capital.

On the same day in Jakarta, hundreds clashed with police, throwing petrol bombs and torching trucks before being dispersed by water cannon and tear gas.

In Azerbaijan, about 20 demonstrators were detained on September 17 outside the U.S. Embassy.

In Tunis, a hard-line Muslim who had urged Tunisians last week to storm the U.S. Embassy escaped from a mosque that had been surrounded by security forces seeking to arrest him.

Thousands had heeded Abu Yadh's call to storm the U.S. Embassy compound in Tunis on September 14. They looted and burned buildings in the compound, leading to clashes with security forces that killed four demonstrators.

In Egypt, where the first protest against the film was held on September 11, an Al-Qaeda-linked militant named Ahmed Ashoush issued a religious edict on September 17 saying that it is justified to kill anyone who took part in the making of the film, including the producer, the director and the actors.

Russian Prosecutors Seek Ban

Meanwhile, Russian prosecutors said on September 17 that they will seek to ban "Innocence of Muslims."

The Prosecutor-General's office said it will ask the courts to outlaw the film as "extremist and offending believers."

A spokeswoman said the office already has warned leading Internet providers not to show the film.

The spokeswoman, Maria Gridneva, said prosecutors have also asked a government watchdog to instruct media not to report on the content of the film.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa, Interfax, and RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service
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