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.
 
Arrests
 
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

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Comments page of 2
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by: fred from: au
September 14, 2012 9:56 AM
A little note to the protesters in Libya and to others who would like to follow in there foot steps:

In your zeal for your faith you have committed murder, taking the lives of persons not guilty of any crime and in doing this you show complete and utter contempt for the very words of the Quran. It is as if, by these actions, you have spat on the Quran.

Even more than this: although this movie is insulting to Islam, of poor quality and even more degraded in taste, your actions have given this movie credibility.
In Response

by: Joseph from: U.S.A.
September 14, 2012 10:40 AM
Well put my friend!

by: kafantaris from: USA, Ohio
September 14, 2012 8:12 AM
“I called him [President Obama] to ask him to put an end to such behavior,” said Egyptian President Morsi -- confirming that he does not fully understand that our government cannot limit speech.
Let's go over it again: The government cannot stop people from making offensive films. And since the government cannot stop people from making offensive films, it also cannot be blamed by Muslims when those films offend them.
But what good is free speech if it protects films that are offensive or false?
Even such films have value, according to John Stuart Mill: They give us a “clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”

by: JohnWV from: USA
September 14, 2012 7:18 AM
Israel wants us to attack Iran. An American movie so enrages Muslims that they attack us. Wow, that's clever work even by Netanyahu's standards. The denials are way too many and too powerful. No did way all the usual suspects (Israel, AIPAC, Mossad, Jewish money) not make this happen.

by: Kamal from: Morocco
September 14, 2012 6:39 AM
I'm a muslim, and based on what we learned by our prophet and messenger Muhammad ( peace upon him ). we refuse all form of violence and kill worldwide and we condemn what happened in Lybia and Egypt and other place in the Arab world.
In the same time we condemn this ugly movie, and we condemn all people who stand behind it. This such bad movie shows that they have no idea on Islam or they knew the truth and they want to fight it. I want just to advise them to follow the right wherever and if it was right with your enemy.
In Response

by: Peter from: Australia
September 16, 2012 12:30 AM
Kamal Your Islamic faith has all ways been saying DEATH to the Christians of this world. We only have to say a wrong word and Muslims start murdering and rioting. You do not see us White or Black Christians doing this if someone mocks our GOD. I say Kick all Muslims out of Christian Countries where they live off the Welfare of the Christian Governments.
In Response

by: JC from: USA
September 15, 2012 2:14 PM
Just curious why you didn't condemn what happened in the USA on 911?
In Response

by: Chai Adam Mason from: London
September 15, 2012 12:53 PM
I can't imagine who would stand behind that film, it's so awful I couldn't even watch it for more than a minute on youtube so I closed the window.

by: Anonymous
September 14, 2012 5:42 AM
Just for the records: Protests in Iran are organized by the government and not the people. anti US protests in Islamic Republic is always organized by the government forces and paramilitary forces are always active in those so called protests.

by: john from: german
September 14, 2012 5:36 AM
Islam is the most non-tolerant religion in the world. You can criticize christ, you can criticize buddha, however, once you criticize the Prophet Muhammad , you must be careful of your life because all muslim want to kill you for sacrifice.
In Response

by: Jordan from: Afghanistan
September 14, 2012 10:03 AM
Being in a country where we have been on ground for over 11 years, and knowing that at any moment another attack could happen or will happen is always an on going threat here in Afghanistan. In the North it's not all bad but in the south where attacks are on a daily bases folks back home reguardless of there oppions need to think twice of what they are doing. And it shouldn't matter what religion one is it's between them and the way the worship whatever god, object, or whatever they may believe to be true. Religons in GENERAL SHOULD BE LEFT ALONE. While on this subject during such hash times for many middle eastern Muslim countries any blow aginst Islam is like taking a Soliders life into your own hands. So think twice before doing somethins stupid please.
In Response

by: Learner from: germany
September 14, 2012 9:47 AM
it is good to protect free speech

by: Roscoe from: Bellingham, Washington
September 14, 2012 5:30 AM
It appears that these people are not rational and very primitive in how they react. They react with negative emotions that garner no sympathy from me.

I can not remember that last time Christians reacted in a similar fashion burning other folks embassies and murdering innocents for a transgression of s similar nature.

The muslim world if this is not representative of their faith better purge themselves of the bad apples.

I am sick and tired of hearing small "A" Americans say that we deserve such treatment.

I find it hard to understand those who voice anti american comments, claiming we deserve such atrocities abroad.

One might think that such folks might like to apply for residency in one of these other countries.
In Response

by: Jamal from: New Orleans
September 14, 2012 6:06 PM
Our government in the past, has left a bad influence throughout the entire world and many people have not forgotten this . So they are not only reacting to the film, but also to western influences and colonialism over the years...and they are frustrated! You have to look at it from their point of view.

by: Candy Calloway from: East Japip, NE
September 14, 2012 5:23 AM
It's interesting that some media are publishing the names of the makers of the film even though the identity of the makers is not yet certain. Because these people's names are being published, there is now a death warrant on these people's heads - whether they are actually the ones who produced it or not.
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