Anti-Islam film: Protests reverberate across Muslim world

Published: September 15, 2012
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Protesters attempt to cross barbed wires as they try to reach the US Embassy during a demonstration in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP

Protesters attempt to cross barbed wires as they try to reach the US Embassy during a demonstration in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: 

Hundreds of people demonstrated in cities across Pakistan, Middle East and North Africa on Friday to denounce an anti-Islam movie, which has sparked fury across the Muslim world, and in some cases, deadly violence.

The low-budget controversial film – “Innocence of Muslims” – portrays followers of Islam as gratuitously violent.

At a rally organised outside the Karachi Press Club after Friday prayers, Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) reiterated its call to defend religious honour and riled up a crowd against the US and Israel. Around 200 JuD supporters attended the rally.

A large banner festooned on a makeshift stage read: “The US and Israel are responsible for the film blaspheming against the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).”

“If the filmmaker is not arrested, the US envoy should be expelled, and diplomatic and trade relations with America should be snapped,” said Engineer Naveed Qamar, the chief of JuD’s Karachi chapter.

Islamabad

Supporters of the Majlis Wahdatul Muslameen rallied from G-5 Imambargah. They wanted to march up to the US Embassy but strict security arrangements prevented their forward march.

The protesters demanded that the hate film should be banned across the world and the filmmaker punished. They also called for the US to apologise over the film and the Pakistani government to expel the US ambassador.

Around 400 protesters rallied in front of Laal Masjid on the call of Jamaat-e-Islami. They called for the handover of Terry Jones, the controversial American pastor linked with the film, who has drawn protests in the past for burning copies of the Holy Quran. “Terry Jones should be handed to us for a trial in the sharia court,” a speaker told the gathering.

Lahore

Like elsewhere in Punjab, protests were staffed by the Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool, Jamiat Talba Arbia, Shehri Mahaz and JuD. Enraged protesters set fire to American and Israeli flags to vent their anger.

JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed urged the government to summon the US ambassador and lodge a strong protest over the disputed movie. “Such blasphemous acts are intentional and we will not tolerate this,” he told the rally.

Quetta

Hundreds of activists of the Jamiat Ahle Hadees staged demonstrations outside the press club to condemn the anti-Islam film.

They were carrying placards and banners inscribed with various demands. Addressing the protesters, speakers condemned the film, demanding stern action against its maker. They called for such material to be condemned in the strongest terms by all Muslim countries, urging them to unite to foil the nefarious designs of anti-Islam elements.

Peshawar

Hundreds of Jamaat-e-Islami activists demanded the government close down the US embassy in Islamabad in protest against the anti-Islam film.  The rally was organized on the call of JI chief Syed Munawar Hassan.

Addressing the protesters, JI’s provincial chief Professor Mohammad Ibrahim said the film was an attack on the religious feelings of Muslims.

Similar rallies were staged in other cities of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, including Hazara division.

Azad Kashmir

Mass rallies were held across Azad Jammu and Kashmir after Friday prayers, including in Mirpur district to protest against the movie “Innocence of Muslims”.

Calls for the rallies were given by various social, political and religious organisations. Speakers at the rallies in Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Dadayal, Palandri, Kotli, Bhimbher and Poonch condemned the movie and its producer. They said the film would further fuel extremism and militancy.

Clashes erupt in Sudan, Lebanon and Yemen

Anti-US protests across the Muslim world over the film erupted into violence in Sudan, Lebanon and Yemen on Friday.

In Khartoum, around 5,000 protesters stormed the British and German embassies. Outside the German embassy, police fired tear gas to disperse protesters, as several of them scaled the roof of the embassy and tore down the flag to replace it with a black one.

In Tripoli, a crowd of 300 protesters attacked and set fire to a KFC restaurant, sparking clashes with police in which one person died and 25 were injured, a security source 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.

In Sanaa, security forces fired warning shots and water cannon to disperse protesters trying to reach the US Embassy.

(Compiled from dispatches from our correspondents with additional input from agencies)

Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Sultan Mehmood
    Sep 15, 2012 - 7:58AM

    One will see that it is only Muslims who come out bursting when there is anything anti-Islamic. Well, but then Muslims take their religion most seriously, and have not been flooded away by secularism and modernism. Islam is the only great religion whose followers try to define modernity in their terms, and all other define their religion on secular theories. Sometimes they make a fool out of themselves, but it is still better than annihilating the original religion completely just for the sake of modernism. However, I hope Muslims record their protest peacefully.

    AND I pity the mentality which never misses a chance to aggravate people who love and feel strongly about their religion. Freedom of speech, haw haw!! pity pity

    Recommend

  • Mr X from Bombay
    Sep 15, 2012 - 9:21AM

    Religion of peace strikes again!!. Does Allah and Muhammad (PBUH) really need mortal human to protect their honor ?
    Help me understand this. Some insane person makes a video and the muslim world does what is expected it will do, burn american flag, attack embassy and kill someone who is not even involved in making film.
    If your faith is strong then no level of insult harm your honor. But if the whole belief system is corrupted by idea of Jihad, all you get is bunch of extremely intolerant people who can not stand the idea of other’s freedom to practice their way of living.

    Recommend

  • observe
    Sep 15, 2012 - 9:40AM

    someone drew cartoons someone wrote a book and someone made a movie , all these were ment to insult but when we “muslims” say no to the teachings of the holy prophet s.a.w.w , is it not the insult ? Anyways the cruel & wild and brainless human shouting ALLAHO AKBR while SLAUGHTERING a human , is the worst isult and a practical cartoon. .Recommend

  • indiantroll
    Sep 15, 2012 - 10:33AM

    Very Well Said Mr Sultan Mehmood sahib.

    Recommend

  • Cautious
    Sep 15, 2012 - 10:34AM

    Hundreds of people demonstrated in
    cities across Pakistan, Middle East
    and North Africa on Friday to denounce
    an anti-Islam movie

    Dubious headline — denouncing the movie is something that is near universal – what’s making the news is the inappropriate demonstrations against the USA/Israel/Germany/Britain who had nothing to do with the production of this movie. Seems like no one wants to focus on the fact that the producer of this film is from Egypt – a Christan Coptic who was subject to Muslim abuse and fled to the USA – no doubt with a significant chip on his shoulder towards the Muslim’s who persecuted him in Egypt.

    Recommend

  • A.B
    Sep 15, 2012 - 10:45AM

    so to show the world that we are not violent, we’re demonstrating violence…? lol

    Recommend

  • Sep 15, 2012 - 1:32PM

    I’m really happy to see the people
    Thanks every one May Allah show them right Path and every oneRecommend

  • Sep 15, 2012 - 1:57PM

    @Sultan Mehmood:

    the movie (i have not seen it) against which the violent protests are being made in some Muslim countries is reportedly about the intolerable and violent nature of Muslims when issue is related to their religion.. the movie is hurting the feelings of Muslims and condemn its production and screening. If the movie maker’s intention was also to show the extreme intolerance and violence of the Muslims then they have been proved right.

    Recommend

  • butt jee
    Sep 15, 2012 - 2:14PM

    Wide spread out rage in the Muslim world is absolutely justified. The US must reign in such elements who are responsible for disgraceful blasphemous acts.

    Recommend

  • Poleturtle
    Sep 15, 2012 - 2:32PM

    The US should charge the maker of the film for inciting the murder of several US citizens across the globe and putting the life’s of thousands others in danger ! Justice will be served !!

    Recommend

  • Sep 15, 2012 - 2:55PM

    pakistan should refuse dollar aid from USA.. pakistanis should stop waiting in que in front of american embassy for VISA. pakistanis should stop working for american companies.. pakistan should ask saudi arabia and other gulf countries to expell american army from their countries. if saudi still continue to hold military base of america saudi aid should also be stopped and people should also protest against saudi for aiding america.

    Recommend

  • Sep 15, 2012 - 3:12PM

    I am a non-muslim – and I believe that Mohamed was a social reformer well well before his time – I mean he spoke of property for women when my grandmother in last century did not have property.
    That said – he would be saddened how his forward thinking reforms were just frozen by unimaginative followers for all time instead of changing with the times. Recommend

  • Dasmir
    Sep 15, 2012 - 3:44PM

    Have some sense.If you get provoked then there are millions of looney who will get a camcorder and make something that will provoke muslim reaction.The best way to deal with such incidents is to ignore and move on rather than kill or burn your own house!

    Recommend

  • Indian Catholic
    Sep 15, 2012 - 4:02PM

    JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed urged the government to summon the US ambassador and lodge a strong protest over the disputed movie.
    .
    Why doesn’t he go to the embassy himself? I am sure he will get a good reception.

    Recommend

  • Arshad
    Sep 15, 2012 - 7:12PM

    P. R. Sharma: Perhapes you have not seen the movie, I have seen it half, this is insulting to our prophet Muhammad, his wived, and his companions, swearing, calling various bad names. Would you ignore if the film was made againg Lord Krishna or Lord Gunaish. Although I am not Hindu but I have respect your religious leaders.

    Recommend

  • Sep 15, 2012 - 7:31PM

    @mano:
    You have forgotten to mention that American Embassy should be removed from Pakistan And also The Pakistanis who are serving in USA should be declared anti Pakistan or get a fatwa for them as infidel. Will that do or wish to add more.
    Minds like you will harm Pakistan’s interest.
    Really Allah only can save Pakistan from the person likes of you.Recommend

  • Sultan Mehmood
    Sep 15, 2012 - 7:41PM

    @p r sharma:
    My dear, I make a claim that you are violent. Subsequently, I curse your any of your family member.
    Tell me, will you still stick to the same logic? Well, whatever is your reaction to it but most of the men won’t take that, that’s why we need to respect their sensitivities.!Recommend

  • Raj Kafir
    Sep 16, 2012 - 9:11PM

    I have seen the film and it is less vulgar and violent than Pakistani Blockbuster Maula Jatt.

    Recommend

  • Arshad
    Sep 16, 2012 - 10:06PM

    Raj Kafir: Mola Jatt is a social film, here we are talking about religion insult film, you are an Asian and know how Asians are serious about their religion whether Hindus, Sikhs, Budhists, Christians or Muslims.

    Recommend

  • Raj Kafir
    Sep 17, 2012 - 6:56AM

    @Arshad: You are saying it is OK for social films to be vulgar and violent. I did not see Buddhists putting Muslim embassies on fire when Talibans destroyed statues of Buddha. This violence is not limited to Asian countries, it is all over the world.

    Recommend

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