News / Middle East

Violence Over Anti-Islam Video Enters Day 4

An Egyptian protester runs away from a tear gas canister fired by riot police, near street leading to US embassy during clashes in Cairo, Egypt, Sept 14, 2012.
An Egyptian protester runs away from a tear gas canister fired by riot police, near street leading to US embassy during clashes in Cairo, Egypt, Sept 14, 2012.
VOA News
Demonstrations continued for a fourth day across the Muslim world over an amateur American-made anti-Islamic video. U.S. and other foreign missions have stepped up security following violent attacks that began Tuesday.
Protesters in several cities across the Middle East, Africa, and south and east Asia spread out after Friday's midday prayers, denouncing the video and those they feel have not done enough to stop it.
Demonstrations continued near the U.S. embassy in Cairo, with protesters throwing rocks at riot police, who responded with tear gas.
The violence also spread to Sudan, where witnesses said demonstrators breached the German embassy. Hundreds of protesters in Tripoli, Lebanon, set fire to a KFC fast-food restaurant.
Protests were also reported in Malaysia and Indonesia, and security was tight in Kabul, Afghanistan, even though there were no demonstrations.

Video of Middle East protests

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 U.S. President Barack Obama. The Egyptian leader is reported to have brought up the video, while president 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," said the president. "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."
Egyptian security forces were building a barrier Friday to block the route to the embassy. Egyptian police used tear gas earlier to break up the protests.
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."
  • An Egyptian protester throws back a tear gas canister towards the riot police during clashes near the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, September 14, 2012.
  • Sudanese policemen try to disperse protesters demonstrating outside the German Embassy in Khartoum, September 14, 2012.
  • Sudanese women chant slogans during a protest in Khartoum, Sudan, Sept. 14, 2012.
  • A protester sprays graffiti on a wall during a protest march to the U.S. embassy in Sanaa September 13, 2012.
  • Palestinians burn U.S. and Israeli flags during a protest against a film produced in the U.S. that they said that was insulting to Prophet Muhammad, in Gaza City, September 14, 2012.
  • A boy holds a toy gun during a protest in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh near Sidon, Lebanon, September 14, 2012.
  • Protesters chant slogans during a march to the U.S. Embassy in Doha, September 14, 2012.
  • Shi'ite Muslim supporters of the Imamia Student Organization (ISO) shout anti-American slogans during a protest rally in Islamabad, September 14, 2012.
  • Bangladeshi Muslims shout slogans as they participate in a protest in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 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.

Tracing the Video
"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
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 as a villainous, homosexual, child-molesting buffoon, among other overtly insulting claims.
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 contributed to this report

You May Like

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Stewart
September 18, 2012 6:23 AM
Where does this lead? The list of things that offend radical Islamists is long. What happens next time fanatics riot and murder innocents over a film or a picture or a book? Is the White House going to make it a policy to condemn any mockery of Islam that radical clerics exploit to gin up outrage across the Muslim world?

by: wayne collinge from: minnesota
September 16, 2012 2:30 AM
there is the right of free speech . However there is no need to insult another either. That to me sounds like a hater. I believe in the freedom of speech yes ,I do however know that with that free speech there is free will of the one's that are insulted by words spoken or however conveyed. It to me would seem to be would i insult some one because of my freedom of speech or freedom of religion. do i want to see drama/conflict. is it my morals that keep me from insulting others because, simply I can. I sure wish some would think before they do what they think they can just because they can and are protected by this right . what will be the reaction to my action. will people be hurt because of my actions . something to think about.

by: Judi from: Chicago
September 15, 2012 2:09 PM
One of our fundamental rights in America that I hold dear is the right to think, feel and SAY anything we want. To allow protests from another country censor this right would be ludicrous and demeaning to all Americans. I don't like the video, but I uphold the producer's right to publish it. Is it biased against Muslims? Definitely so. Is is wrong to be biased against Muslims because of 911? Fundamentally, yes. But let's all admit a small bit of bias after thousands of Americans met an untimely, heinous & torturous death at the hands of a Muslim terrorist group. I work hard at not having bias myself, but for those who don't - that is their right as an American and noone should be able to take that away.

by: Voice of Reason
September 15, 2012 1:50 PM
This is not new. The Prophet Muhammad has always been subject to insults and personal attacks. 1,400 years in Arabia, the Pagans of Mecca used to throw excrement at him while he prayed, sent countless assassins to kill him, and raised money to pay poets to write works insulting him. How did the Prophet respond after the Conquest of Mecca? By forgiving those who harmed him the most and stating that no blood should be shed.

His neighbours used to put thorns at his doorsteps early in the morning and he used to step on the thorns whenever he would step outside in the dark. One day he did not find the thorns, so Muhammad went to his neighbour's house and asked how the neighbour was as he knew that his neighbours must have been very ill to not have been able to place the thorns at his threshold that morning. Needless to say, his act of kindness caused his neighbours to respect and love him eventually becoming Muslims themselves.

P.S. The Prophet's youngest wife, Aisha, was 19 years old, and not 9, when they were married. She was the daughter of Abu Bakr. The false claim of her having been a child was invented by those wishing to justify child marriage, something Muhammad did not approve of.
Also, all of his wives after Khadhija (who was his first wife and 15 years his senior) were widows or divorced. He married them to remove the stigma Arab culture placed on widowed and divorced women.

by: Jamal from: New Orleans
September 14, 2012 5:47 PM
We (Americans) must one day very soon, change certain laws in our country which allows the wicked the destroy the moral fibre of our society .Free speech is fine, as long as your speech or actions DO NOT offend or disrespect the next person . It is up to the people of the U. S. (not the government) to check this type of immature behavior. The evil forces in our society are taking advantage of the '' freedom of speech idea''. The question is: what are we going to do about it? The wicked thinks that they will go about unpunished, but the law of justice is alive . It was absolutely wrong to kill inocent people that had nothing to do with the film. I believe that some of these violent people are just looking for an excuse to attack the U.S.,even though their protests are justified and understandable .

by: David A. from: Kemah, Texas USA
September 14, 2012 3:52 PM
To the Muslim's of Egypt and the World...

WE the People of the United States...WE are not perfect, WE have our issue's. WE fight and argue amongst ourselves and some of us are loud and overbearing. Sometimes WE think WE know what's best for someone else, when We should sit back and let them work it out for themselves.

On the other hand, when someone or some nation is in trouble WE the People are the first one's there to help. WE send more food, medical aid and donate more money then any other nation in the world.

You may say that is because WE have more.

WE have more because WE worked hard and have tried to move forwards. Freedom of THOUGHT, ACTION and YES!!! RELIGION....lead to ways to make things better, faster, cheaper. WE can (most of the time) put our difference aside and work together for the betterment of everyone and our country. WE have not always been successful, but WE keep trying to do the right thing.

WE, as in one or a few, can also say things that WE as a whole do not agree with, but as a FREE nation, the few or the one have the right to say and feel the way they do.

WE the People, most likely, do not agree with that point of view. Our goverment does not dictate that we argree with those ideas or that the goverment agree's with those views. One can freely have them, say them or express them in print or on film.
In Response

by: David A. from: Texas, USA
September 15, 2012 11:04 AM
Yes Unos from Iran, you can say it. The majority of the people can or will disagree with what you say, but we are still free to say it.

I for one think there should be a two state solution between Palistine and Israel. They both have a right to exist.
In Response

by: unos from: iran
September 15, 2012 1:50 AM
good, so do you think you are free to say any thing about The Jews and The Holocaust?!

by: manish kumar from: earth
September 14, 2012 3:00 PM
All they say is just what we want to hear, manupula tion of words for personal gain. Lets rewrite the story once again, a script of life without fear,war and pain.everyone knows who is to blame for?(example:see people around you with power,now the question is?are you free? LOVE n PEACE.

by: Karma
September 14, 2012 2:18 PM
If you dont have something nice to say, dont say anything. In the end, it will be the individual to speak up for every word they said, every action they commited. If your actions are going to result in global revolt DONT DO IT. It is easy to shatter the glass but impossible to put it back together.

Please lets get along. Stop hating!

Life is short, enjoy it.
In Response

by: Spuddy from: Maine
September 14, 2012 6:44 PM
We have freedom of speach like it or not, you should be able to say whatever you want and it shouldn't be censored. Besides, the Muslims over react, I don't hate the Muslim community in anyway but I mean have you ever seen a family guy episode? They make fun of the Christian God all the time and you don't hear them complaining. Just saying

by: Nikos Retsos from: Chicago, USA
September 14, 2012 10:46 AM
There is another unintended casualty of the anti-U.S. Muslim protests: The upcoming arrival to the U.S. of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to talk to the U.N., and to U.S. congressmen and editors of Jewish controlled media about a campaign to force the Obama administration to issue a "red-line" war ultimatum to Iran about its nuclear program! Obama has already refused to meet Netanyahu, but with the explosive situation in Middle East now, the Netanyahu plan has already sank in the bottom! It will be absolutely lunatic for any American politician or newspaper editor to sit down and discuss war with Iran plans with Netanyahu under the current explosive unrest in Middle East.

The Israeli producer of the anti-Muslim film also may realize now that it has turned out to be a boomerang that shot down Netanyahu's plans! The adage: "Be careful what you wish; you may get it," is now unfurling under Netanyahu's feet! Wishes who fail to take into account any "unintended consequences" may turn out to be catastrophic!

It is time, therefore, to stop beating the war-with-Muslims drums, and start thinking about reconciliation with them! That will be a win-win proposition, whereas our 10-years of war with Muslims has produced only losers and unnecessary blooshed! Nikos Retsos, retired professor

by: Infidel from: USA
September 14, 2012 10:42 AM
Why arent these people at work or school? What a bunch of losers.
Comments page of 2

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs