News / Middle East

    Anti-US Protests Rage Over Anti-Muslim Film

    A group of Kenyan Muslims burn the U.S. flag following afternoon prayers outside the Sakina Jamia Mosque in the port city of Mombasa, Sept. 14, 2012.
    A group of Kenyan Muslims burn the U.S. flag following afternoon prayers outside the Sakina Jamia Mosque in the port city of Mombasa, Sept. 14, 2012.
    VOA News
    New protests ignited across the Muslim world Friday as anger spread over an anti-Islamic video posted on the Internet. The U.S. and other foreign missions have stepped up security following violent attacks that began Tuesday.

    In Tunisia's capital, Tunis, police fired tear gas at more than a thousand rock-throwing demonstrators. Some of the protesters Friday breached the wall surrounding the U.S. embassy.

    Black smoke was seen rising from the embassy parking lot, although it is unclear if the protesters had thrown petrol bombs into the area or had set some cars on fire when they scaled the wall.

    The violence also spread to Sudan, where witnesses said police clashed with thousands of protesters heading toward the U.S. embassy.  Protesters are also reported to have breached the German embassy.

    ​Related video report by Meredith Buel

    Hundreds of protesters in Tripoli, Lebanon, set fire to a KFC fast-food restaurant.

    Demonstrations continued Friday near the U.S. embassy in Cairo, with protesters throwing rocks at riot police, who responded with tear gas. Egyptian security forces also built a barrier to block the route to the embassy.

    Protests were also reported in Malaysia and Indonesia, and security was tight in Kabul, Afghanistan, even though there were no demonstrations.

    In Benghazi, where the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other American personnel were killed in an attack Tuesday, security was stepped up around the city and the airport temporarily closed.
     
    U.S. warships are headed to the Libyan coast, while additional U.S. Marine guards were deployed to protect the American embassy in Yemen. Protesters Friday were pushed back from the embassy with water canon and warning shots, after demonstrators breached the wall the day before.

    Cairo responds

    In many Cairo mosques Friday, the video, a crudely-made attempt to mock the Prophet Muhammad, was the topic of the day.  One imam reminded worshippers that Egyptians, under their new Islamist government, can now openly defend the prophet from such insults.

    Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has condemned the video. He spoke out again Friday on the need to keep protests in check, saying Egypt will never accept the killing of innocents, or attacks on diplomatic missions or personnel. He added it is every government's duty, including Egypt's, to protect ambassadors, missions and tourists.

    The appeal for restraint followed what is being described as a frank telephone call overnight between Morsi and President Barack Obama.  The Egyptian leader is reported to have brought up the video, while Obama stressed Egypt's obligation to protect the embassy.

    Obama spoke Thursday about the relationship between the U.S. and Egypt.

    "I don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy," he said. "They are a new government that's trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think we have to see how they respond to this incident."

    Libyan officials said Thursday that they have arrested four people in connection with this week's assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three of his staff: information technology specialist Sean Smith and former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.  The officials did not provide details.

    American intelligence agencies are examining the alleged involvement of pro-al-Qaida militants.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the amateur U.S.-made movie that mocks the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. She called it "disgusting" and "reprehensible."

    Tracing the Video

    A trailer for the anti-Islamic video was posted on YouTube in July. An Arabic-language translation began circulating in the Middle East in recent days. Clips from the movie depict the Prophet Muhammad in a very unflattering light.  

    The film has been widely condemned across the globe and in the United States.

    Called "The Innocence of Muslims," the film was said to have been produced by a man named Sam Bacile, who told news media he is Israeli-American.  A consultant on the film says that name is a pseudonym, and there are suggestions that the man behind the film is an Egyptian Coptic Christian who lives in California.  There is no record of the film or its producer in Hollywood reference sources.  

    Several news organizations have linked the inflammatory film to an Egyptian American, 55-year-old Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who lives in California and once was convicted of bank fraud.  Nakoula says he handled logistics for the production.

    Another California man who says he served as a consultant, Steve Klein, has given conflicting accounts of the film's origin and funding.  Klein is the founder of anti-Muslim and other hate groups.  

    VOA's Mike O'Sullivan in Los Angeles, Elizabeth Arrott in Cairo and Carla Babb in Washington contributed to this report.

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    Comments page of 4
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    by: anonymous from: d
    September 20, 2012 8:22 PM
    stop insulting the Muslims and wave the constitutional right of freedom of speech, it's never fair with the Muslims is it ?
    Americans are racist, at first they've sent the Indians to Holocaustic path to cut them by half under the name of " they were underpowered by there chief " and apologized. they've enslaved Africans in inhuman way after a lot of assassinations they have apologized,now it's the Muslims turn i guess.
    one last thing the constitution was written in 1787 those who've wrote the Constitution did live among killing the Indians and enslaving the African why do you respect it so much ?

    by: an american from: america
    September 19, 2012 1:43 PM
    Why should the US ever consider suppression of any of our freedoms? Especially not for the likes of radicals that murder over a stupid, stupid movie? What is wrong with you? Do you live everyday of your life in fear? We will not and do not here in america. The freedom of speech is a constitutionally protected right. Maybe you need to ask your government to 'protect you from our words' by limiting or banning your internet altogether.

    by: Peacenik from: India
    September 17, 2012 12:44 PM
    This time too the Clerics of the Religion of Terror are going to install their President Husein Obama in the US. Goodbye freedom of speech. This-IOM- may have been an amateurish movie, but would they allow Tom Holland, or Robert Spencer to make a historically accurate movie? Any way you see, tough days are ahead for Israel.

    by: M Naeem from: Pakistan
    September 16, 2012 3:08 PM
    The rule is very simple , whenever America needs oil , he could do any thing , he can put millions of Muslims in war hell, but he can't be questioned for his wrong actions and false deeds, he can capture any person who criticize USA policy , at that time in greater national interest of America there is no freedom of speech, but when it comes the matter of our beloved Prophet S .A.W , they think that they will bark and will get away, no, no and no , we can not tolerate any barking , we will protest and protest hard until America ban this video and punished all the producers, directors , film makers , actors and all those who took part in this project or help this project towards completion.

    """" Gulami-e-Rasool (S A W) main mout bhi qabool hai """"""

    by: Umer from: Pakistan
    September 15, 2012 3:13 PM
    killing of american ambassader is painful.They paid for the other sins. We should protest in sensible way.
    I as muslim believe that such killing of innocent people is against teachings of Holy Prophet Muhammad PBUH.

    US government must take step to change the policy of freedom of opinion. it is leading a serious imbalance in the world.

    by: Stretch from: New York, New Yoek
    September 15, 2012 10:26 AM
    Now why is it when (1) American make a statement or voice their opinion the whole world take it as all of America said it? I don't blame every Muslim for the action(s) of it's country or another. I respect the Muslim faith and belief, but please stop blaming every American for what another say or do. To me this seems like a plot (Operation Northwoods) if you don't know what that is look it up. Every one of us need to open our eyes and see things for what they are.

    by: Tran from: Saigon
    September 15, 2012 10:09 AM
    Why didn't they choose a non-violent way to deal with this matter, i.e. making fun on Jesus or telling jokes about christians, buddhists instead of killing the people, blowing up Buddha statue. As a buddhist, I am not angry for their actions to destroy the tallest buddha statue, but I feel sad because the statue has been destroyed after thousand thousand years......

    by: Michael_Scofield from: Philippines
    September 15, 2012 9:22 AM
    why did they burn down KFC!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by: Michael_Scofield from: Philippines
    September 15, 2012 8:41 AM
    There is something wrong about Muslims. Just like here in Philippines, we are all threatened by the Muslim communities. Without the Muslim communities, our country would be a safe place to live. Muslims here, just like in any other Islamic countries, for whatever reason, they don't have respect to human life especially the Christian Communities. Though it is understandable how anyone would defend his or her religion but by using violence, killing people and burning embassies, is idiotic and evil. We Christians need to defend ourselves...

    by: nanashi from: japan
    September 15, 2012 5:38 AM
    OMG, just stop fighting. I have some muslim friends, and they are just good people...
    condolences to the families of the deceased Americans and all those injured.
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