Protests against anti-Islam film erupt in Kabul, Jakarta, Marawi

Published: September 17, 2012
Philippine Muslims raise clinched fists as they wave placards with anti-US and Israeli slogans during a protest against an anti-Islam film, in Marawi City. PHOTO: AFP

Philippine Muslims raise clinched fists as they wave placards with anti-US and Israeli slogans during a protest against an anti-Islam film, in Marawi City. PHOTO: AFP

MANILA / KABUL: Protests on Monday turned violent for the first time in Afghanistan and Indonesia over an American film mocking Islam as hundreds of angry men clashed with police, hurling stones and shouting “Death to America”.

The outbreaks of violence were the latest eruptions of anger over the low-budget trailer made in the United States and aired on YouTube that has fanned unrest around the world, leaving at least 18 people dead.

The movie entitled “Innocence of Muslims”, believed to have been produced by a small group, has sparked a week of furious protests outside US embassies and other American symbols in at least 20 countries.


In Kabul on Monday, more than 1,000 Afghans protested, setting police cars and commercial storage containers ablaze on Jalalabad Road, Kabul police chief Mohammad Ayoub Salangi told AFP.

Between 40 to 50 policemen were “very slightly wounded” by stone throwers and members of the crowd waving sticks, said Salangi, who added that he had also been grazed by a stone.

Burning tyres sent thick black smoke streaming into the sky and rocks littered the road as shopkeepers hurriedly locked up and ran away.

A police official, who gave his name only as Hafiz, said protesters also threw stones at Camp Phoenix, a US-run military base in the capital, but were later driven back.


In Jakarta, protesters hurled petrol bombs and clashed with Indonesian police outside the US embassy shouting “America, America go to hell” in the first violent film protests in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

Police were seen kicking or dragging away some of the protesters, while one policeman was taken away in an ambulance with his face bleeding.

Jakarta police spokesman Rikwanto, said officers used tear gas, water cannon and warning shots, but did not say whether they had fired live ammunition or blanks.

Many of the protesters were supporters of Islamic groups and were dressed in identical white Muslim garb, an AFP reporter saw.


About 3,000 Filipino Muslims burned US and Israeli flags in a protest.

The protesters in the southern city of Marawi gathered in a public square to express their anger at the movie, stamping on huge American and Israeli flags that they then set on fire.

The protesters carried placards saying, “Americans are satanic” and “Israeli Jews… enemy of Muslim Ummah (community)” in the Muslim-majority city with some protesters calling on President Benigno Aquino to ban the film.

However, there were no untoward incidents during the rally.

Meanwhile, Aquino told reporters he did not have the power to ban the low-budget US film that has sparked fury across the Islamic world.

“Don’t forget in our constitution, we have freedom of expression and we are not allowed to have laws limiting freedom of speech,” he said.

However he said the government movie censors board could ban the movie from being shown in local theatres or television.

Middle East and Africa

Monday’s protests came one day after the head of the Shia movement Hezbollah, blacklisted in the United States as a terrorist group, called from Lebanon for a week of protests.

Nasrallah described the film as “the worst attack ever on Islam” – worse than “The Satanic Verses” by British author Salman Rushdie, who has been under an Iranian fatwa calling for his murder since 1989.

“The whole world needs to see your anger on your faces, in your fists and your shouts,” he said in a televised speech broadcast just hours after Pope Benedict XVI ended a historic three-day visit to Lebanon.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has also demanded violence against US diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa, and on US interests in the West.

Google bars access

Following complaints, Google is barring access to the video in Egypt, India, Indonesia, Libya and now Malaysia, while the government has restricted access to Google-owned YouTube in Afghanistan.

Boiling point

The unrest began in Cairo, where protesters stormed the US embassy late Tuesday, replacing the Stars and Stripes with an Islamic banner.

Hours later, the US consulate in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi came under sustained attack, with four Americans killed, including ambassador Chris Stevens.

Mass demonstrations after the Friday prayers saw 11 protesters killed as police battled to defend US missions from mobs in Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen.

The United States has deployed counter-terror Marine units to Libya to protect the Tripoli embassy and stationed two destroyers off the North African coast.

It has also sent a Marine unit to protect the US embassy in Yemen, where police shot dead four protesters and wounded 34 others on Thursday as a mob breached its perimeter.

Hundreds of Yemeni students demonstrated on Monday calling for the expulsion of the US ambassador and condemning the Marines’ deployment, an AFP reporter said.

The United States has evacuated all non-essential staff and family members from Sudan and Tunisia and warned US citizens against travel to the two countries.

And in Afghanistan, two US soldiers died and six US fighter jets were destroyed when Taliban fighters on Friday stormed one of the country’s largest airfields to avenge the anti-Islam film.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • s
    Sep 17, 2012 - 5:58PM

    Americans must understand that they are not superior, they cannot make fun of anyone.


  • Kay
    Sep 17, 2012 - 6:43PM

    Rather than violence shouldn’t Muslim scholars be refuting whatever is shown in the movie against Islam.


  • Tim Brennan
    Sep 17, 2012 - 6:49PM

    First of all there is no film, there is a clip of a film and one guy claims to have seen the whole thing. If someone in the Islamic world wants to spend thier day surfing the web looking for something to be outraged about they will find something somewhere. With all the publicity I assume there there will be a film now. but this would not be an “American” film 3 guys and a camcorder can not make a statement for the whole country. The real story here is two fold first a problem with a sizable portion of Islam that want a fight see insults in thin air and frankly are as nuts as the Nazi’s were. the secord is as much as you reveare the Mohammad (PBUH) we revear freedom of speech, out of 320 million people you will find someone in the US saying something you dont like, I do everyday LOLRecommend

  • Texasguy
    Sep 17, 2012 - 6:54PM

    What these people don’t understand is that they are showing the entire world a face of Islam that reflects on it’s nations as a whole and it is not a pretty picture of tolerance. How about if America pulls ALL of its support for any country that harms diplomats or any US citizen! And I mean all support, financial, education, health and TRADE! Respect is earned and not just given because you Demand it!Recommend

  • Ali Khan
    Sep 17, 2012 - 7:13PM

    Oh yeah! Why should we control ourselves, we won’t!, we’ve had enough of this alright! And look at what America itself does. Its a bigger terrorist. Destroying Iraq and Iran and all. It’ll never learn. I think we should protest more this time so that maybe the dunderheads realize their mistake for once.


  • Ali Khan
    Sep 17, 2012 - 7:40PM

    Ok fine I agree that maybe people are getting carried away by burning and everything but Emetics really needs to understand that it must STOP doing stuff to us. All these diurnal drone strikes and the war in Afghanistan and all, I must say, why? When will they leave us alone?
    To think: all this because of 3k people dying 11 years ago. What about the millions killed in Iraq before that.


  • Stephen Real
    Sep 17, 2012 - 7:45PM

    I have to call the fatwa on this moral malarchy. The Holy Prophet would not care about a Youtube video that nobody watched when 20,000 Syrians have been killed at the hands of Assad. Where is the moral outrage for the murdered Syrians created in the image of God?

    These protesters project onto our US government that it is like any other Arab government in the Arab world where free speech is controlled by the government. This contradicts our founding principles of freedom of conscience and expression.

    Why is Egypt behind China? When 50 years ago it was leaving China in the economic dust? The Arabs did it to themselves. They, for whatever psychological reasons, relied on Islam to solve their economic problems ans societal problems. These protests are stoked up by religous zealots whom never studied or even read the Holy Qu’ran and have no idea on how to improve Arab society and economic wealth of the Arab peoples.


  • American Joe
    Sep 17, 2012 - 8:09PM

    Just because that absurd film was made in America does not mean Americans endorse, support, or believe it. Everyone I’ve talked to think the same thing in regards to the film: it was a disgusting piece of rubbish that’s sole purpose was to enrage Muslims. That filmmaker does not speak for me or my values nor does he speak for the 230 other Americans. It’s one guy who hides behind free speech to incite violence.

    And as for being in the Middle East, Americans by and large do not want to be there. We want our sons home and living in a peaceful world. That’s a sentiment that’s shared by nearly everyone I know.Recommend

  • Obaidullah
    Sep 17, 2012 - 10:51PM

    “Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech that the U.S. must be held accountable for the film” Dear Mr. Nasrallah, we live in a FREE country, where people can express their opinions-right or wrong. Our government has NO power to shut us up. I do not agree with the film. I think it is absurd and amateurish, but the film maker is protected under freedom of speech. Don’t like it? Don’t watch it. It is the view of one blockhead. The whole country is not responsible.Recommend

  • Obaidullah
    Sep 17, 2012 - 10:52PM

    The biggest problem is that Muslims don’t follow the peaceful quotes of Quran like the one in Surah 5 verse 32 which says “if any one slew a person it would be as if he slew the entire humanity and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole of humanity”.Why don’t Muslims follow this??


  • Obaidullah
    Sep 17, 2012 - 11:13PM

    We cannot keep 6 billion people hostage to our ideology ..Using violence as a tool only cements non muslims view of how intolerant muslims are. We can always use peaceful methods to convey our message. If you are a true muslim you wouldn’t this film in the frist place. Stop targeting all americans or all europeans for the acts of a few miscreants.


  • Sep 18, 2012 - 6:05PM

    The long-simmering religious war between the West (today represented by freedom of speech) and Islam will eventually destroy civilization. Mitt “Cyborg” Romney stirs it up because he is an agent of the Mormon Church. To gain an existential understanding of what produced Mitt “Cyborg” Romney, and to get your socks scared off, read The Assassination of Spiro Agnew, available in paperback and ebook at:

    Its unwilling, part-Mexican Mormon assassin dramatizes the Mormon superiority complex, manifesting it as racism, sexism, jingoism and an anti-federal government temperament. His research in the new library reveals ominous similarities between Islam and Mormonism. The spiritual power behind the cult, which is not the Holy Ghost, acts out.

    “With a clarity of language and vision unsurpassed in contemporary American prose, Steven Janiszewski’s Assassination of Spiro Agnew takes us into a U.S. mazed with madness and Mormonism and all things Utah, a U.S. that was then and still is. Do we need a novel, even as brilliant as this one, about a young man on a divine mission to assassinate the Vice President because he is too liberal? Yes, now more than ever. Readers, welcome to a masterpiece.”

    Tom Whalen

    Read The Assassination of Spiro Agnew.
    Mr. Rushdie would enjoy its post-modern style as much as he would be abhorred by the Mormon experience.Recommend

  • Tim Brennan
    Sep 18, 2012 - 7:19PM

    Steve I think you suffer from a western centric view, not that we are passive bystanders but what is really going on is an Islamic civil war. the Shiite and Sunni’s don’t like each other, the Wahabi arent too fond of either of them and no one likes the Suffi’s(the most peaceful branch lol).. This makes the west a target the extremist on all sides can agree on. Plus the fact the extremist dont want freedom at home or abroad and decent is punishable by death. We have crazies in the west too but by and large with the exception of the Serbs religious wars are(hopefully) a thing of the past . I have many Muslim friends all good people, I do believe the majority of Islam wants peace but a sizable minority dont, and I hate to say a majority wont take the steps needed to condemn the extremists. We in the West have too long supported dictators who enrich themselves at the expense of their population Who did we think would take power when the dictators fell? . The only organized opposition were the religious extremist. For our own sake we need to convert the natual gas something we can do fairly quick and easy and with the domestic oil plus Canada Mexico and Brazil stop our dependance on middle east oil . Our 16 trillion dollar debt will require us to make major cuts in everything, including our military. I am all in favor of helping those who share our values and ignoring the rest as long as they are only repressive at home. I support Israel but not as a blank check they arent always wrong but they arent always right, just like the US. Its a mess over there and will only change when Islam decides to, Its a sign of weakness that Muslims are so paranoid about allowing freedom to other faiths and sects this much change. Recommend

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