News / Asia

Indonesia Moves to Block Anti-Islamic Film

An Afghan woman browses the YouTube website at a public internet cafe in Kabul. Like Afghanistan, Indonesia seeks to ban the YouTube website showing a U.S.-made film insulting the Prophet Mohammad, Sept. 12, 2012.An Afghan woman browses the YouTube website at a public internet cafe in Kabul. Like Afghanistan, Indonesia seeks to ban the YouTube website showing a U.S.-made film insulting the Prophet Mohammad, Sept. 12, 2012.
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An Afghan woman browses the YouTube website at a public internet cafe in Kabul. Like Afghanistan, Indonesia seeks to ban the YouTube website showing a U.S.-made film insulting the Prophet Mohammad, Sept. 12, 2012.
An Afghan woman browses the YouTube website at a public internet cafe in Kabul. Like Afghanistan, Indonesia seeks to ban the YouTube website showing a U.S.-made film insulting the Prophet Mohammad, Sept. 12, 2012.
Kate Lamb
After a controversial anti-Islamic film sparked deadly protests in Libya and Cairo, Indonesia has called on YouTube to block the film’s trailer in the world’s most populous Muslim country. 
 
The provocative scenes in trailer for the U.S.-produced film, the Innocence of Muslims, are being seen as a possible catalyst for the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and violent protests in Egypt.
 
"Innocence of Muslims" Movie
  • Excerpts of the film were posted on YouTube in English and Arabic
  • The film depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a caricature
  • Reportedly financed by expatriate members of Egypt's Coptic Christian minority group
  • Promoted by Florida-based Christian Pastor Terry Jones, who burned a Quran in his church
Indonesian Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring said Thursday that he has asked YouTube and Google to block access to film, which he calls "a thriller", as soon as possible. 

“Today in the morning I got the report from my staff and also I read in social media… So I asked to my staff to find it there in the Internet so we already coordinate with YouTube and Google also to block that thriller,” he stated.
 
Minister Sembiring says he is confident the request will be granted.
 
YouTube recently agreed to block access of allegedly blasphemous footage involving a candidate in the Jakarta governor.  The removal took just two hours.
 
In recent years the government has worked hard to crack down on militant Islamic groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah, the group behind the 2002 Bali bombing, but several fringe radical groups remain. 
 
Last week, police identified explosives and other bomb ingredients following an explosion at a house in West Jakarta.
 
And about 100 Islamic extremists rallied outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta this week to praise the 9/11 hijackers.
 
Sembiring said it is necessary to block the 14-minute anti-Islamic video trailer to prevent tensions from rising further. 

“As you know, there was the ambassador of the United States in Libya killed and also four staff for the United States, I think this is very sensitive. I think also related to this thriller, so just for the anticipation for the situation... So we try to anticipation, preventative action, before the tension, become, go up,” Sembiring said.
 
More than 90 percent of Indonesia’s 240 million people are Muslim.  Most are decidedly moderate.
 
On Wednesday, YouTube had blocked users in Libya and Egypt from watching the video, but kept the video on its website. The site said in a statement that the video is “clearly within our guidelines” but “given the difficult situation in Libya and Egypt we have temporarily restricted access in both countries.”
 
As of Thursday afternoon in Indonesia, footage of the film had not been blocked in Jakarta.

Photo Gallery: Anti-US Protests in Middle East

  • Yemeni protestors break a door of the U.S. Embassy during a protest about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Mohammed, Sana'a, Yemen, September 13, 2012.
  • Yemenis protest in front of the U.S. Embassy during a protest about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Mohammed, Sana'a, September 13, 2012.
  • Egyptian protesters burn tires as they clash with riot police outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, September 13, 2012.
  • An Egyptian protester throws back a tear gas canister toward riot police outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo, September 13, 2012.
  • A policeman stands in front of a police car set on fire by protesters in front of the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, during clashes between protesters and police, September 13, 2012.
  • White House staff are pictured after they lowered the U.S. flag to half staff on the roof of the White House in Washington, September 12, 2012, following the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.
  • President Barack Obama delivers a statement with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, September 12, 2012
  • A burnt car is parked at the U.S. consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen, in Benghazi, Libya, September 12, 2012.
  • An exterior view of the U.S. consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen yesterday, in Benghazi September 12, 2012.
  • An interior view of the damage at the U.S. consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen yesterday, in Benghazi, Libya, September 12, 2012.
  • Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was killed along with three of his staff on September 11, 2012 during a demonstration at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.  This photo was taken at his home in Tripoli, June 28, 2012.
  • A vehicle sits smoldering in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012.
  • An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi, Libya, late on September 11, 2012.
  • U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in flames during protest, September 11, 2012

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