Fury over Prophet Mohammad video simmers on in Muslim world

  • Reuters, Dubai
  • |
  • Updated: Sep 16, 2012 20:30 IST
  • France

    Protesters clash with French Gendarmerie near the US embassy in Paris during a demonstration against the anti-Islam film produced in the US. The anti-American demonstrations, ...

  • Afghanistan

    Afghan demonstrators pour fuel as they prepare to torch a caricature of US President Barack Obama during a protest in Kabul. AFP/Massoud Hossaini

  • Australia

    A policeman, injured by protesters, is assisted by colleagues in central Sydney. Reuters/Tim Wimborne

  • Kashmir

    Kashmiri Muslim students shout slogans against the US during a protest in Srinagar. AP/Dar Yasin

  • Egypt

    Egyptian protesters gather around a burning vehicle in downtown Cairo, Egypt. AP

  • Tunisia

    View of burned American school adjacent to the US embassy compound in Tunis, Tunisia. AP/Hassene Dridi

  • Sudan

    A still image take from video footage shows demonstrators jumping on the emblem of the German embassy after breaking into the mission's compound in Khartoum. ...

  • Pakistan

    Supporters of Pakistani religious political party Jamaat-e-Islami stage a demonstration in Peshawar. (Reuters File Photo)

  • India

    Muslim protesters hit caricatures of US President Barack Obama and Florida pastor Terry Jones with brooms during a protest, against a US-made film they consider ...

  • Afghanistan

    An Afghan youth shouts slogans during an anti-US protest in Kabul. AFP/Massoud Hossaini

A wave of furious anti-Western protests against a film mocking the Prophet Mohammad abated on Saturday, but US policy in the Muslim world remained overshadowed by 13 minutes of amateurish video on the internet.

Washington ordered family members and non-essential staff to leave the US Embassy in Khartoum, which was attacked on Friday, after Sudan turned down its request to send Marines to bolster security.

In addition, it pulled non-essential personnel out of its embassy in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, also attacked on Friday, and urged American citizens to leave the city.

Marine platoons have been sent to US missions in Yemen and Libya since the unrest erupted.

Elsewhere, riot police stormed into Cairo's Tahrir Square and rounded up hundreds of people after four days of clashes and demands from protesters for the US ambassador to be expelled.

Saudi Arabia's highest religious authority denounced the attacks on diplomats and embassies across the Middle East as un-Islamic.

But the Yemen-based branch of al Qaeda applauded the killings of US diplomats in Libya and urged Muslims to kill more, calling the video posted on the internet another chapter in the "crusader wars" against Islam.


Egyptian police detain a man as they clear Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt. AP

A California man convicted of bank fraud, who has denied reports that he was involved in the film's production, was taken in for questioning by officers investigating possible probation violations stemming from the making of the film.

Afghanistan's Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack on a base that killed two American Marines, saying it was a response to the insults to the founder of Islam.

An Afghan youth shouts slogans during an anti-US protest in Kabul. AFP

Relative calm
Hundreds of Muslims took to the streets of Australia's largest city, some throwing rocks and bottles in clashes with police. Some carried placards reading "Behead all those who insult the Prophet".

About 80 Islamist militants were arrested in Paris while trying to demonstrate outside the US Embassy near the Champs Elysees, French police sources said.

Saturday was, however, relatively calm after at least nine deaths in the Muslim world on Friday during protests and attacks on American and other Western embassies.

President Barack Obama, leading a ceremony on Friday to honour the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans who died in an attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, vowed to "stand fast" against the violence.

"The United States will never retreat from the world," he said.

The Pentagon rushed to bolster security at missions abroad.

The US state department on Saturday also urged American citizens to avoid Sudan's restive Darfur, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan regions.

Libyan authorities said they had identified 50 people who were involved in the attack in which ambassador Christopher Stevens died.

In an interview aired on Saturday on NBC's Nightly News, Libyan President Mohammed Magarief was quoted as saying that foreigners along with Libyans were involved in the attack on the consulate in Benghazi. He added there were 10 suspects in custody.

Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al al-Sheikh, denounced the attacks while urging governments and international bodies to criminalise insults against prophets.

He described the short film as "miserable" and "criminal," but said attacks on the innocent and on diplomats were "a distortion of the Islamic religion and are not accepted by God".

Free speech laws
The video, circulating on the internet under several titles including Innocence of Muslims.

"We were attacked by Obama, and his government, and the Coptic Christians living abroad!" shouted one long-bearded Muslim protester outside the US Embassy in Cairo on Friday.

Egyptian protesters gather around a burning vehicle in downtown Cairo, Egypt. AP

In the Los Angeles suburb of Cerritos, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, who has denied involvement in the film in a phone call to a Coptic Christian bishop, was ushered out of his home and into a waiting car by sheriff's deputies, his face shielded by a scarf, hat and sunglasses.

He was voluntarily interviewed by federal probation officers and left about 30 minutes later, a police spokesman said.

US officials have said authorities are not investigating the film project itself, and that even if it was inflammatory or led to violence, simply producing it cannot be considered a crime in the United States, which has strong free speech laws.

A statement posted on a website used by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula called on Muslims to "follow the example of Omar al-Mukhtar's descendants ( L ibyans), who killed the American ambassador".

"Let the step of kicking out the embassies be a step towards liberating Muslim countries from the American hegemony," the group said.

Hundreds of mourners in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, attended the funeral on Saturday of a young protester shot to death when riot police battled a crowd attacking the US Embassy on Thursday.


also read

Anti-Islam film row: US filmmaker says won't return to besieged home

blog comments powered by Disqus