Violent protests break out in Muslim world over anti-Islam film

Published: September 14, 2012
Bangladeshi Muslims shout slogans during a protest rally in Dhaka September 13, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS

Bangladeshi Muslims shout slogans during a protest rally in Dhaka September 13, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS

Bangladeshi Muslims shout slogans during a protest rally in Dhaka September 13, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS Muslim demonstrators walk over US and Israeli flags as they attempt to reach the US embassy during a demonstration against an anti-Islam film in Islamabad on September 14, 2012. PHOTO: AFP

CAIRO: Anti-US protests by crowds whipped into fury by a film that ridicules Islam’s Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) erupted across the Arab world on Friday, leading to an explosion of violence in Sudan, Yemen and Lebanon.

The protests came after Muslims emerged from mosques in their thousands following the weekly Friday main prayers to voice their anger at the film, which shows the prophet in a derogatory manner.

In Khartoum, around 5,000 protesters stormed the embassies of Britain and Germany, which was torched and badly damaged, an AFP reporter said.

Police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters as several of them scaled the roof of the German embassy and others attacked its facade and tore down the flag to replace it with a black Islamic one, the reporter said.

In the Yemeni capital Sanaa, security forces fired warning shots and water cannon to disperse crowds of protesters trying to reach the US embassy, an AFP correspondent said.

Security forces blocked all roads leading to the mission, after similar confrontations left four people dead on Thursday.

In the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, a crowd of 300 protesters attacked and set fire to a KFC restaurant, an AFP correspondent said.

The attack on the US fast-food chain’s outlet came as Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Lebanon for a three-day visit, calling for Christian-Muslim coexistence and attacking religious extremism.

With much of the anger directed at the United States, where the film was made reportedly by a Coptic Christian and promoted by a rightwing pastor, Washington had earlier ordered security boosted at its embassies worldwide.

Protests in the region have been taking place since Tuesday, when US diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt were attacked by crowds angered by the movie.

An American ambassador and three other US officials were killed in the Libya attack.

Protesters in Cairo early Friday again clashed with police outside the US embassy for a fourth straight day, although calm returned later in the day after the Muslim Brotherhood withdrew a call for nationwide demonstrations, saying it wanted to avoid loss of life and damage to property.

The Brotherhood’s about-turn came after Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said during a visit to Rome on Friday that the film is an “aggression” on Islam that distracts from the real problems of the Middle East.

“We cannot accept this type of aggression and attempt to sow discord. These irresponsible actions yield no good and draw attention away from real problems like the conflict in Syria, the fate of the Palestinians and the lack of stability in the Middle East,” Morsi said.

Thousands of people yelling “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” meanwhile rallied in the centre of Tehran to protest the anti-Islam film.

State television showed the crowd streaming out after Friday prayers at Tehran University in which a hardline cleric, Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, blamed the United States for the crude film, which pokes fun at the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

“It is a wonder how those running a country claiming to be a superpower become so stupid in taking such actions,” he said.

“In their recent lunacy, they have made a movie – whose finances are said to be paid by the Zionists – to insult the prophet,” he said.

The crowd responded by chanting “Death to America.”

Protests have spread across the Middle East and further afield, including to Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kashmir, Iraq, Israel and the Gaza Strip, Kuwait, Sudan and Tunisia.

US and Libyan officials meanwhile are probing Tuesday’s attack on the consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi that killed the ambassador and three other US officials, amid growing speculation it was the work of extremist militants rather than just demonstrators.

Two of the four Americans killed in the assault were former members of the elite Navy SEALs officials identified as Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. The harrowing attack also left Ambassador Chris Stevens and Sean Smith, an information management officer, dead.

Washington sought to keep a lid on the demonstrations by spelling out that the controversial film that set off the violence was made privately by a small group of individuals with no official backing.

“Let me state very clearly – and I hope it is obvious – that the United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared in condemning the “disgusting and reprehensible” video.

The catalyst for the bloody conflagration in the Muslim world was an amateurish film denigrating the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and linked to evangelical and Coptic Christians in the United States.

The suspected producer is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Copt living in California. It was promoted on the websites of two other Americans, extremist Christian pastor Terry Jones and another Copt, Washington-based lawyer Morris Sadek.

Both the State Department and the White House say there is nothing they can do to stop individuals producing inflammatory material because of freedom of speech laws enshrined in the First Amendment of the US constitution.

UN leader Ban Ki-moon condemned the “hateful” anti-Islam film as deliberately intended to incite bigotry.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (16)

  • Awans
    Sep 14, 2012 - 7:10PM

    It is my request to Pakistani Muslims that behave in a good manner so that no one in the world would be able to say that people who follow Islam are violent and dangerous. There are peaceful ways to protest as well and only those ways should be adopted.
    But at least it is my request to Demonstrators to Burn the Land Cruisers and Hiluxes of Maulana Fazl ur Rehman and Ahle Sunnat’s head as they had told everyone to avoid US products so charity should start from their homes and they have no right to travel in General Motors made Cars owned by US investors when they want others to do the same…


  • you are not prooving anything with this violence
    Sep 14, 2012 - 7:20PM

    all this behavior is prooving is that muslims worldwide need anger management, & no i am not a rascist, half of my family are bosnian muslims, I am obviously not a muslim, but seriously im sick & tired of muslims over-reacting, 1st of all this so called film was not made by america, it was made by a certain induvidual who infact the media should have kept anonymous & now have put in danger by flaunting his real name world wide, what is going on in this world, what will become, I am a firm believer in christ & I respect other peoples beliefs, hey it’s their choice, but by no means would i kill in the name of christ, no killing could ever be in the name of christ because christ forbids killing & the devil expects it..


  • wolfie loves kulfie
    Sep 14, 2012 - 7:28PM

    america should stop allowing these countries nationals to america and crub on immigration , tech transfer and USAID let these people realise what it is to live in stone age and being ungrateful . this is just an accuse to blame america for some video released by few people which is not funded by US government money


  • Raw is War
    Sep 14, 2012 - 7:32PM

    I saw the movie on YOUTUBE today. It was a hopeless movie. But shockingly Muslims are imitating the behavior of mobs shown in the film. very ironic. Recommend

  • arjun
    Sep 14, 2012 - 8:45PM

    The bad reputation is well known in 300 countries -you cannot do anything to change that in 5.5 billion non-muslims!!!


  • Nadine
    Sep 14, 2012 - 9:08PM

    I know a man who lost his parents but refused to be called an orphan. Man enough to love a strong woman years older than him, worked for her and made her stronger, opened his heart to her, shared his fears to no one but her,cleaned after himself and sewed his clothes, and was faithful to her till her last breath. He was good looking, courageous and fearless. He never judged anyone on their pasts or looks, and was moderate, open minded and tolerant. His neighbor was Jewishwhom always put garbadge infront of the phropet pbuh house but when he got sick (the jeiwsh man) phropet pbuh went to visit him and the jewish man was shocked) and his cousin-in-law was a Christian priest. Was beaten and exiled when he was helpless. Was merciful when he became stronger. Intelligent, wise and a hard worker, built a long lasting nation out of nothing in the last 20 years of his life. He had no parents, but loved his daughters and grandchildren. His last will was “Be good to women”. Prophet Mohamed Peace and Blessings be Upon Him


  • butt jee
    Sep 14, 2012 - 9:56PM

    We must condemn the blasphemous movie. We should also condemn US for putting no curbs on those individuals who indulge in such acts, but there should be no violence, no arson and no burning of properties.


  • Jawans
    Sep 15, 2012 - 12:28AM

    Awans : get ur facts straight son. Gm does not manufactur hiluxes or land cruisers.


  • Nand
    Sep 15, 2012 - 12:39AM

    Hats off to Pakistan. For once they have shown sanity. This act of being non violent will show us all that indeed, Islam is a religion of peace.


  • Sexton Blake
    Sep 15, 2012 - 1:31AM

    The Americans do have libel or defamation laws, but they usually apply when people are alive. However, I do not think we need to worry. The Prophet Mohammed has to be in the top region of admired human beings, and unlike most other ancient prophets his existence is well established in history. I have not seen the film, but it is regretful if the Prophet has been defamed. I think it would be best if the hotheads took a deep breath and calmed down. I am very certain that when things have calmed down the Prophet Mohammed will be esteemed even more.


  • Righton
    Sep 15, 2012 - 4:20AM

    These nut cases on the rampage need to be stopped. But stopped by people who call themselves Muslims like me. These fanatics are hijacking our religion. They have no appreciation of our prophet (SAW) life and example. A famous Hadith about the prophet (SAW) goes like this:when a women dumped garbage on the prophet every day when he passed by her house, he never reacted. In fact, when one day she did not, he went to inquire about her. She was sick and was profoundly impacted by his concern and converted. Meanwhile these lunatics are taking us hostage and if we don’t do something soon, we will be not be able hide behinds statements like this is the fringe group. If the majority does not do something soon they will be accountable like the Germans under the Nazi, the Rwandans, the Japanese in WW2 and so on. WAKE UP UMMAH!


  • Sexton Blake
    Sep 15, 2012 - 5:11AM

    You are right. GM do not make Land Cruisers or Hilux vehicles, but I will bet they wish they had the ability.


  • wt
    Sep 16, 2012 - 3:04AM

    the law “freedom of speech” is being misused greatly, and that is the reason there is an uproar from so many countries. Say if some other country highlighted degrading opinions in a movie based on a certain religion, obviously it would be taken very offensively! The US should help solve this problem because if the making of the film was in the US then they should do their best to ban such an offensive movie and put charges on the three men responsible for carrying out an act like that. That way the problem will be resolved. Moreover, to all those that think Muslims are hotheaded.. just putting it out there.. you all are the reason for our conditions .. if your culture, country and religion is continuously being talked against, frustration is bound to occur! It’s part of human nature. So don’t say anything against Muslims if you aren’t aware of what is going on in the world right now. If a movie was produced in the US against Christianity, no doubt that within an hour of its release it would be banned.. so why not with Muslims? Why are we mistreated despite the fact that we already have so many false accusations on
    top us?


  • D'souza
    Sep 16, 2012 - 3:16PM

    @Raw is War:
    Muslims are gong out of their way to prove the filmmaker right!


  • Ummati of beloved prophet MUHAMMAD(S.A.W)
    Sep 16, 2012 - 8:06PM

    N why Muslims won’t go out of their way?..ok tell me if someone say somthing bad for ur parents what would u do?? Won’t u go out of ur way??
    As a Muslim we love our prophet MUHAMMAD(s.a.w) more then our parents our brothers and sisters n more than everything in the world!! We can sacrifice our life’s for our beloved prophet(S.A.W). After God we love him(S.a.w) the most. Muhammad(s.a.w) is the best example for all mankind.. Even his(s.a.w) enemies considered him(s.a.w) the trustworthy and truthful. So we Muslims will go to every extent n give every one a warning to never repeat such foolish things again!!! Don’t even dare to say something against our beloved PROPHET MUHAMMAD salal laho alaihay wasalam. n we love Jesus Christ also because he is also one of our prophets :) ALLAH HU AKBAR!!


  • Student.
    Sep 16, 2012 - 9:27PM

    I think i agree with “wt”. If today a movie was made against Christianity or any other religion for that matter of fact it would have been banned or people of that religion would have reacted the same way Muslims are reacting today.. If we Muslims stay quite about this who knows what else people from the world start making up about Islam. We cannot just sit there and let people do whatever they want, we should stand for not only our rights but the rights of the religion we follow. As people are saying Muslims need to calm down, I ask why? I strongly feel that they have a right to speak against this so called ‘movie’ made against The Holy Prophet (PBUH). And as America says that they have given the freedom of right to people to make movies like this then why do they expect us Muslims to stay quiet about this? After all we’ve also been given the freedom of right to defend abnormal things said or made on or about our religion. Americans should not give the freedom of right to citizens as because of one or two three citzens a world war could start which im sure no one wants…


More in Pakistan