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