Anti-Islam film: As Muslim world erupts, PTA scrambles to block video

Published: September 13, 2012
Offensive clip taken off by YouTube; Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan lodge strong protests.

Offensive clip taken off by YouTube; Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan lodge strong protests.


After protests erupted across the Middle East and Afghanistan blocked video sharing website and social media network YouTube, the site took off “Innocence of Muslims”, a film that claims to take a satirical view of Muslims and Islam.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) officials confirmed that they had received information about the video and had received directions from the Ministry of Information Technology on Wednesday afternoon to block the video.

“We started blocking the video within 10 minutes of receiving instructions from the ministry [of information technology],” a senior official at the PTA, who did not wish to be named, told The Express Tribune.

Explaining the action further, he said that operators were proactively working to block the offending video “wherever it appears” on the Internet.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry condemned the airing of the video clip in the US, saying it maligned the ‘revered and pious personality of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)’ on the eve of the anniversary of 9/11 attacks.

“Such abominable actions, synchronised with commemoration of atrocious events like 9/11, provoke hatred, discord and enmity within societies and between peoples of various faiths,” said a statement issued by the foreign ministry.

Hundreds of protesters had stormed the US embassy in Cairo on Wednesday to protest news that a 13 minute clip of the two hour film, by Californian filmmaker Sam Bacile, would be screened at a church in Florida along with being streamed live on their website.

On Wednesday, the US ambassador to Libya and three other US embassy staff members were killed when infuriated protesters attacked the US embassy in Benghazi.

The film, made in 2011, was partly available on YouTube with short 90 second-long trailers and an 11 minute clip from the film. YouTube removed the longer version and a message now greets viewers reading: “This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube’s policy against spam, scams, and commercially deceptive content.”

The Afghan government on Wednesday banned YouTube from the country for the first time to prevent people from watching the anti-Islam film.

“Following instructions by the ministry of information and culture, the ministry of communication has ordered all service providers to block YouTube access,” communications ministry official Aimal Marjan told AFP.

He said the block had been ordered “until YouTube removes this abusive film”.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood called for nationwide protests Friday against the film.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, condemned the film which it described as “a racist crime and a failed attempt to provoke sectarian strife between the two elements of the nation: Muslims and Christians.”


Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2012.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (77)

  • Viewer
    Sep 13, 2012 - 9:34AM

    Absolute or unlimited freedom of expression does not exist any where, nor can it be. Freedom of Expression of a person is limited by Freedom from Insult of other person.

    The West has its own ‘defined limits’ which it attempts to impose forcefully on the whole world. An example is the laws against holocaust denial. If anyone speaks up against holocaust, a storm of hue and cry is raised by Western media, because in that case, their “limits of freedom” are crossed.


  • Viewer
    Sep 13, 2012 - 9:45AM

    Absolute or unlimited freedom of expression does not exist any where, nor can it be. Freedom of Expression of a person is limited by Freedom from Insult of other person.

    The West has its own ‘defined limits’ which it attempts to impose forcefully on whole world. An example is the laws against holocaust denial. If anyone speaks up against holocaust, a storm of hue and cry is raised by Western media, because their “limits of freedom” are crossed.


  • dou
    Sep 13, 2012 - 9:51AM

    I never understand the logic of blocking such things. People in all other parts of the world could still see it. Such movies are not meant to be made for audience in Muslim world anyway


  • John B
    Sep 13, 2012 - 9:58AM

    Apparently the film was made or sponsored by an Egyptian , likely Coptic and this explains how the film got dumbed in Arabic even before anyone in US ever came to know about it.

    This further goes to show, how important it is to search for truth and reasoning rather than resorting to violence.


  • AF
    Sep 13, 2012 - 10:17AM

    Absolute or unlimited freedom of expression does not exist any where, nor can it be. Freedom of Expression of Absolute or unlimited freedom of expression does not exist any where, nor can it be. a person is limited by Freedom from Insult of other person.

    The West has its own ‘defined limits’ which it attempts to impose forcefully on whole world. An example is the laws against holocaust denial. If anyone speaks up against holocaust, a storm of hue and cry is raised by Western media, because their “limits of freedom” are crossed.


  • Wanderer
    Sep 13, 2012 - 10:27AM

    May they burn in Hell.. Amen!


  • Turkoodu
    Sep 13, 2012 - 10:28AM

    I found the video pretty offensive and in poot taste
    despite the fact that I am a Hindu.


  • A reader
    Sep 13, 2012 - 10:49AM

    I saw the video – about 13 minutes – it seemed really cheesy and low budget – almost like a movie made by high school students. I think eruptions from various mobs are really just expressions of anger due to other things – they just need a nice and neat reason to do so and this movie fit the bill – there’s really nothing in this movie that you won’t find on various comments on newspaper comment sections, blogs or even youtube video comments. I think someone in some organized crime ring or Libyan political opposition wing wanted the US ambassador gone and conveniently blamed the video as a reason in order to obfuscate the crime.


  • Awans
    Sep 13, 2012 - 11:03AM

    @dou: Muslim World ???. What is meant by a Muslim world ???.So you are of the view that this clip must be allowed as it is for the Non Muslim world??? You people are sick and you still live in Ignorance. America , Europe and India is not all about Non Muslims as there are Muslims too and they are Europeans, Americans and Indians too with no less rights and they are contributing in their economy and culture as well. .
    Secondly do you know in UK British Press is not allowed to print anything defaming the Monarchy. So where is the freedom of Press in UK???. Why a small difference of Opinion is even unacceptable against their Kings and Queens?. Also do you know that In Germany, Austria and Poland if you talk against Holocaust then it will land you in jail for many years. Same is the case with America. In Italy Press is not allowed to talk against Vatican and they abide by it.
    So even a difference of Opinion can land you in Jail in West. Every country in Europe have defined limits for Freedom of Expression but the Hypocrisy is that when it comes to Islam there are no Limits but when it comes to their own interests they are very much vocal and marked their boundaries clearly.



  • iu
    Sep 13, 2012 - 11:03AM

    I didn’t get the point. Why to block the move? People who don’t want to see, it is their right not to. Those who want has to be free to see it. Come on the World.


  • Ali Hasan
    Sep 13, 2012 - 11:07AM

    To block controversy almost always means the government thinks the masses aren’t mature enough to handle it. In the case of the Muslim world, this is sadly proved to be true day after day.


  • antanu g
    Sep 13, 2012 - 11:17AM

    But you dont understand the logic behind such acts which hurt the sentiments of a group or community.Shame.


  • Yaida M
    Sep 13, 2012 - 11:28AM

    What is wrong with ignoring such mindless provocation? Why do Muslims always have to react? This only makes the perpetrators want to continue with their childish ways. Now the US will want revenge for the death of their ambassador. That leads to a never-ending chain reaction.


    Sep 13, 2012 - 11:58AM

    NO comments, films, etc however much they may offend ANYBODY, can justify murder. Those that believe murder is justified by comments or films are, unfortunately still living in a very dark, and ignorant world.


  • zeeshan sheikh
    Sep 13, 2012 - 12:19PM

    If anyone thinks freedom of expression is his right. I am extending it to the ‘physical freedom of expression’. any problem with it, it is still freedom of ‘expression’


  • Khan of Cape Town
    Sep 13, 2012 - 12:22PM

    @Ali Hasan: Who said people and masses are mature to handle it?


  • Khan of Cape Town
    Sep 13, 2012 - 12:23PM

    It is a sane act by PTA. Most disappointed people with this move, will be the religious exploitationist.


  • ayaz ahmad khan
    Sep 13, 2012 - 12:32PM

    its still available everywhere, even in pakistan, where is PTA


  • Ahmed
    Sep 13, 2012 - 12:34PM

    Block the whole Youtube and so-called social networking sites and take guarantee that they wony allow such offensive material be posted in future. Otherwise let them pack from Pakistan…


  • M.Ahmer Ali
    Sep 13, 2012 - 12:34PM

    What are the Islamic world leaders doing by seeing all this most especially importantly Arab world’s eunuchs and conscienceless leaders and why are they silent on this greatest ever effrontery,meanness and blasphemy???????


  • popsaeed
    Sep 13, 2012 - 12:36PM

    usa is not serious in any kind of peace shame full actRecommend

  • SAJ!
    Sep 13, 2012 - 12:38PM

    seiously i didn’t know about anyu such film produced, i came to know now after all the protests and media thing goin one. what im trying to say is, may be no one would have watched this, but since we are doing so many things now everyone knows about it and will surely watch it. I don’t get it, why can’t we stay silent so these kind of cruel acts will remain silent and only few people will know by protesting we give it more fame…


  • Kumail
    Sep 13, 2012 - 12:47PM

    No point of giving any news coverage to this low-level garbage film. This is exactly what the makers of the film want and unfortunately where giving them that by protesting vigorously.


  • Zzzz
    Sep 13, 2012 - 12:48PM

    And the west calls itself civilized, their double standards are crystal clear. Can someone produce a film denying the holocaust and not end up in jail in their countries?


  • BlackJack
    Sep 13, 2012 - 1:20PM

    First of all, the film is seriously crappy and offensive, and I don’t like it. It is only meant to create controversy, and with the help of hotheads who are aplenty in the ME and our part of the world, has been clearly successful. However, on another note, the comparison that you guys are making is not justified; Holocaust denial/ insulting the royal family/ Vatican are crimes in certain countries – which means that you cannot do this when you are IN THOSE COUNTRIES; however, they don’t kill the Pakistani ambassador if someone sitting in Pakistan makes a movie or writes a book on any of these subjects . If someone in the muslim world dared to make any such movie, they would not be lucky enough to see the inside of a jail, as the poor guy who was burnt alive for alleged blasphemy will no doubt attest. You guys have text books filled with the worst nonsense possible on harmless non-muslims – that is the equivalent of this movie, tasteless as it may have been. Learn to compare apples to apples.


  • Vish
    Sep 13, 2012 - 1:20PM

    @Ali Hasan:

    Hi, if you can access the chinese site , you have full access for the entire movie., I am loving it..


  • Sep 13, 2012 - 1:21PM

    This film was deliberately made to incite and anger people. Cheap publicity and attention by a Christian fundamentalist in USA posing to be an “Israeli-American Jew”. Certain mobs reacted angrily to it, US Ambassador to Libya gets shot dead, mission of getting more cheap publicity accomplished.

    many western writers have criticised the movie’s nonsense content, but they have also criticised how easily certain Muslims get so easily riled up to violence on someone else’s stupid provocations

    I don’t know who is more stupid and foolish: the film makers or the reactionary mobs?


  • Ozymandias
    Sep 13, 2012 - 1:22PM

    The ‘Muslim world’ hasn’t quite erupted. Somewhat sensationalized headline IMHO


  • bilal
    Sep 13, 2012 - 1:23PM

    why u american make movie on topic holocaust,,
    This is muslim world ok so lestn american and jews people, if u respect us then we respect u,,,,
    U american kill inocent people in afghanistan,iraq,libia why u american always kill inocent people,,america is ab big terrorist in this worlf u though usama ben ladin is kill so america is safe no its worng.,if u dnt stop killing muslims nd inccent people so america well never safe,,
    Holocaust is a big joke,,Recommend

  • Uzr
    Sep 13, 2012 - 1:31PM

    i totally agree with you brother…


  • IceSoul
    Sep 13, 2012 - 1:37PM

    Gentlemen, in the West you can make and air as many movies about Christianity and no one will give a damn. Also, there are no laws against holocaust denial in the United States. Some countries such as Austria and Germany have these laws because they were themselves involved in perpetrating the holocaust.

    And the gentlemen who said that its illegal to say anything bad about the monarchy in the UK, are you guys on crack? Please quote your source. Same goes for the guy who said you can’t say anything about the Vatican in Italy. Seriously, where do you guys get your information?


  • IceSoul
    Sep 13, 2012 - 1:39PM

    @Zeeshan Sheikh: If you believe in freedom of physical expression, why do you complain about Muslims being killed in Burma or Afghanistan? The burmese are just “expressing” themselves.


  • Utkarsh
    Sep 13, 2012 - 1:47PM

    Your analogy could be accepted if you were to point out one instance where someone was murdered for saying that the Holocaust never happened.

    Try to make at least a little sense.Recommend

  • Uza Syed
    Sep 13, 2012 - 1:48PM

    Making “anti-Islam” films?! How stupid to do such things and earn bad name for being anti-Islam etc. Just make country reports / country specific documentaries about most of Islamic countries, start it right here in Pakistan. Document all the majour incidents in the last just one year, things like our attitude to those who some of us consider lessor muslims and the minorities. The mockery of justice. The treatment of our women and children. Level of our education / literacy. etc. etc. etc. Make it with absolute objectivity and we would see for ourselves — who is infact “anti-Islam” ? We ourselves or anyone else.


  • asim
    Sep 13, 2012 - 1:56PM

    Where there is a will there is a way. PTA b;ocked video in 10 minutes.
    However SC has been unable to get the letter written against president and lot of precious national time wasted on this issue.


  • Mahroze
    Sep 13, 2012 - 1:58PM

    they did banned the full movie but they didnt banned the clips just watched a clip . They r doing gd in Libya and Egypt


  • Diggvijay Singh
    Sep 13, 2012 - 2:09PM

    I forcefully condemn the denigration of the Holy Prophet of Islam. No one has a right to hurt the religious sentiments of Muslim community. The shameless people who dared to make the film ridiculing the Prophet must be punished harshly for the world to remember.


  • unbeliever
    Sep 13, 2012 - 2:11PM

    A BAD MOVIE, SO BAD, THAT NOT EVEN high-school judges would have let it go past the first round.

    but, then the over-reaction made this otherwise cheap copy a cause of death of 4 innocent men, and would surely lead to further rise in anti-americanism, in the mid-east.


  • Cautious
    Sep 13, 2012 - 2:18PM

    No one forces you to read a book, watch a movie, read a paper, or surf the web. Time for Muslims to grow up and realize they are a minority on this planet and the rest of the World doesn’t have to live their lives according to your wishes.


  • Med school student
    Sep 13, 2012 - 2:19PM

    Learn to respect or Allah might disrespect you.would u say the same it somebody disrespected your parents that way


  • Randomstranger
    Sep 13, 2012 - 2:22PM

    @Blackjack, Pakistanis didn’t kill your ambassador. Don’t generalize all muslim countries as one. I guess ignorance is promoted in US..


  • s
    Sep 13, 2012 - 2:25PM

    I am sick and tired of americans.


  • Hassan
    Sep 13, 2012 - 2:31PM

    US has the right to stop the book of the marine who took part in the OBL mission just because it hurts their national interest.

    When muslims do the same because it is hurting interest of millions of muslims, every non muslim starts making noise.


  • straightup
    Sep 13, 2012 - 3:21PM

    @popsaeed: This wasn’t made by “usa”, it was egyptian. USA does not offend people like ignorant ppl in Pakistan and Egypt think.


  • Mr. Honest
    Sep 13, 2012 - 3:22PM

    Its very sad indeed that things like this happen again and again… It pushes the moderates also towards fundamentalism. Freedom of speech does not mean insulting the Prophet of Islam, again and again. This nonsense has to stop.


  • Abdullah
    Sep 13, 2012 - 3:28PM

    peacefull protest
    please boycott USA products. instead buy other like chinese or korean products.


  • antanu g
    Sep 13, 2012 - 3:36PM

    There appears to be a conspiracy to keep the Muslims across the globe IN PROTEST MODE so as to provide opportunities to western world particularly the US to pound on them with their lethal fire power.


  • Noor
    Sep 13, 2012 - 4:15PM

    The movie is based on hatred and it is bound to incite more hatred. It is made by the ignorant idiots and ignorant idiots are likely to respond to the psychological violence with physical violence.

    It is a factually flawed video. Each account narrated in it can be countered intellectually and logically. Illogic would only worsen the situation, bringing no good.

    A chasm of ignorance about each other, coupled with mistrust created for political purposes, divides the world.
    We need to build bridges and come closer to understand each other, using our faculty of reason, instead of going on the rampage, on the streets, or in movies, books and articles.


  • Gen Zia Ul Haq ka baab
    Sep 13, 2012 - 4:41PM

    this film is designed to put Obama is a awkward position in the run up to the US election -the mullahs are playing into the film producers hands and will pay the price if the republicans win
    No matter what, Obma is better then the republicans who will give blind support to isreal whereas the Democrats will take the middle road with Isreal


  • Imran Con
    Sep 13, 2012 - 4:47PM

    oh believe me. people got sick of suicide bombers some time back.Recommend

  • Winky
    Sep 13, 2012 - 4:58PM

    I saw the movie, it looks like a pakistani film in quality and esthetics. It mimics current state of pakistan society.


  • nomi
    Sep 13, 2012 - 5:18PM

    yes, the west is hypocritical, but is this the way to protest?

    Killing people, destroying people’s property in the name of Islam.

    How much material will this provide to anti Islam groups to carry on their projects?

    Muslim world faces hunger, unemployment, and corruption but they are exploited in the name of religion.

    Everyone has the right to protest, but killing people should not be an option.


  • Shaz
    Sep 13, 2012 - 6:05PM

    This video is still available on you tube


  • Naz
    Sep 13, 2012 - 6:17PM


    Nobody is in Pakistan…… they have already packed adn left pakistan… yo ucan be in peace.. You cannot control what happens in other land….

    Criticize and knock off the movie off youtube by callign it offensive…. thats a safer move than burning so mnay and creating loss in the name of “Allah”Recommend

  • Awais
    Sep 13, 2012 - 6:53PM

    If I start insulting someone in the street just because “I think” he is wrong and worth insulting, is it the freedom of expression?


  • Raj - USA
    Sep 13, 2012 - 8:15PM

    ‘US has the right to stop the book of the marine who took part in the OBL mission just because it hurts their national interest.
    When muslims do the same because it is hurting interest of millions of muslims, every non muslim starts making noise.”

    I wish you had come up with some other example. National interest is supreme and religious interest comes much lower in order. US acted in its national interest and Pakistanis believe that the interests of the muslims across the globe comes first. This is the cause for all problems of Pakistan.


  • waleed
    Sep 13, 2012 - 8:22PM

    this is such an illiteracy, seen again and again. in a form of revenge! why cant US realize how much innocent Muslims they have killed in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.


  • Umer
    Sep 13, 2012 - 8:31PM

    Just don’t watch it. How difficult can that be? Have confidence on yourself that you can make the correct decision/choice on your own.


  • Umer
    Sep 13, 2012 - 8:38PM


    If I start insulting someone in the street just because “I think” he is wrong and worth insulting, is it the freedom of expression?

    Happens all the time in the Islamic Republic and even worst like burning people alive for their faith. What is your point? What about burning of churches, bibles and Christians in Gojra for instance? Was it not more than Blasphemy? Is anyone going to be punished for that in the Islamic Republic? You can’t do all the Blasphemy in the world and then turn around and set a different rule for others.


  • mango people
    Sep 13, 2012 - 8:57PM

    whatever…i want to see the video.


  • qzj00
    Sep 13, 2012 - 10:08PM

    @M.Ahmer Ali:
    They are busy in discussing the “Caretaker Prime Minister”. They already did their share by donating several million to the shrine in India. What else do you want.


  • Sardar KHAN
    Sep 13, 2012 - 10:37PM

    I 100% agree with you.The west is so bad to provoke Muslims all the time.They always hide behind the Freedom of speech slogan but when it comes to hurt them they just go basark.
    The attitudes of Indians is worse.They just bend over themselves to hate,melign and abuse muslims is unbelievable.Recommend

  • light@the end of tunnel?
    Sep 13, 2012 - 11:27PM

    Do Muslims know that they dont have to watch something that offends them?


  • Umer
    Sep 13, 2012 - 11:30PM

    @Sardar KHAN:

    I 100% agree with you.The west is so bad to provoke Muslims all the time.

    You mean in west mosques and Muslims are being burnt as well like you burn Christians, bibles and churches in Pakistan and persecuting Christians under Blasphemy law? By this standard no Muslim should be left alive in west if west responds in kind.


  • Nobody
    Sep 14, 2012 - 11:39AM

    I don’t know the law in Germany, Austria or Poland regarding written media about the holocaust, but I know there’s no law in the US that has jail time as punishment for writing something against the holocaust. I’ve lived here all my life. People will get bent out of shape no doubt, perhaps some protests and riled up hate speech, but it’s not a crime.


  • Tony Singh
    Sep 14, 2012 - 1:09PM

    Why watch this movie when you can watch “Barfi”?


  • JB
    Sep 14, 2012 - 3:52PM

    I wonder how freedom of speech would be perceived if someone made a movie mocking 9/11 victims, or of the 7/7 bombings or the holocaust?


  • Dead Man
    Sep 14, 2012 - 4:36PM

    Where were all these people when the taliban blew up the Prophet Buddha. I guess respect is a one way street.


  • Samuel Johnson
    Sep 14, 2012 - 4:52PM

    As an American, all i can say that if the movie has offended few countries of the muslim world, I regret that. But then , restoring to violence is not the solution. Best thing is not to watch it !!! there are lot of things over the internet which can hurt any religion, best thing is to avoid it. I am some times surprised why there is so much hatred against America when our country is true well wisher of the Muslim world. Even we have provided lot of donation to Pakistan for its growth and to fight terror. We truly respect every religion.


  • abhi
    Sep 14, 2012 - 7:33PM

    I really don’t know if the people spewing venom here watched the whole clip?
    If yes, why? If not, how are you so offended?


  • Sardar KHAN
    Sep 14, 2012 - 11:08PM

    @Raj – USA:
    This is the reason you can’t digest,the muslims of every cread and nationality are brothers and will stay brothers.How much you hate it will not change at all.


  • Faust
    Sep 15, 2012 - 11:19AM

    Dear angry Muslims,

    Unless you are unable to find a way to blow up the internet, you’d better prepare yourselves for a lifetime of Western Embassy attacking and rioting after every Friday prayer.

    If there’s any Western Embassies left in any Muslim countries by that stage.

    The internet is not going away, all religions like all ideologies will be subject to ridicule.

    Deal with it.


  • Hassan
    Sep 15, 2012 - 11:47AM

    @Viewer: The west has listed holocaust denial as crime because it is as certain as Earth goes around the sun.


  • Nobody
    Sep 15, 2012 - 1:25PM

    @Samuel Johnson:
    Your calm demeanor is one I wish more people would exercise. Unfortunately people get too emotional and resort to ugly measures. This cycle is sickening and more needs to be done to stop it. Secondly, I don’t want you to think everyone in the Muslim world hates America; many do, but many don’t. It’s not always easy, but some try to get the facts and take a more moderate approach with their views. And still some may express dislike for the US, but they don’t necessarily resort to violence. As for me, I find a lot of things offensive, but I can’t imagine behaving this way no matter how riled up I get. Nonsensical behavior which breeds no positive result.


  • Khan
    Sep 16, 2012 - 2:03AM

    Why poeple need to post movie like it is against of our prophet that is against islam. did muslim poeple insults amirican culture no then why this movie should be post if poeple saw this movie then all the poeple will be against the islam its not good


  • just a human
    Sep 16, 2012 - 3:16AM

    After this film was published why the answer is a protest that included killing. Why is killing and burning the first option. I agree that the film is disrespectful nut u think allah is going to like man slaughter in his name? No individual is a minority its just how you percieveurself to be. Apart from killing more people what else are these protests really getting at? If the guy who made the film is shallow protestors killing people are worse. Tht guy dint do good to humanity. People protesting are no different. Why kill innocent people? People hurting peoplessentiments and people killing innocent people in the name of god because their sentiments are hurt should all be ashamed.


  • Aly
    Sep 18, 2012 - 11:15AM

    did anyone stop to realize that by making a whole fuss about this movie and blocking youtube – we are driving attention to this low budget movie anyway. Sam Bacile is probably going to make millions cause we drove attention to his stupid movie.

    the movie wasnt for the muslim world blocking youtube here wont make much of a difference. whoever wants to watch the trailor or the movie will find a way to get their hands on it. Recommend

More in World