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Anti-film protests spread across Muslim world

By Aya Batrawy and Lee Keath

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:54 a.m. HST, Sep 14, 2012

CAIRO >> Angry protests over an anti-Islam film spread across the Muslim world today, with demonstrators scaling the walls of U.S. embassies in Tunisia and Sudan, torching part of a German embassy and clashing with security forces at an American fast-food restaurant that was set ablaze in northern Lebanon.

Egypt's new Islamist president went on national TV and appealed to Muslims to not attack embassies, denouncing the violence earlier this week in Libya that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador. Mohammed Morsi's first public move to restrain protesters after days of near silence appeared aimed at repairing strains with the United States over this week's violence.

Police in Cairo prevented stone-throwing demonstrators from nearing the U.S. Embassy, firing tear gas and deploying armored vehicles to push them back in a fourth day of clashes in the Egyptian capital.

The day of protests, which spread to around 20 countries, started small and mostly peacefully in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The most violent demonstrations took place in the Middle East. In many places, only a few hundred took to the streets, mostly ultraconservative Islamists — but the mood was often furious.

The demonstrators came out after weekly Friday Muslim prayers, where many clerics in their mosque sermons called on congregations to defend their faith, denouncing the obscure movie produced in the United States that denigrated the Prophet Muhammad. At least one protester was killed around the region.

Several thousand demonstrators protested outside the US Embassy in Tunis and battled with security forces, throwing stones as police fired volleys of tear gas and shot in the air. Some protesters scaled the embassy wall and stood on top of it, planting a black flag with the Islamic profession of faith, "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet."

Police chased them off the wall and took the flag down.

The heaviest violence came in Sudan, where a prominent sheik on state radio urged protesters to march on the German Embassy to protest alleged anti-Muslim graffiti on mosques in Berlin and then to the U.S. Embassy to protest the film.

"America has long been an enemy to Islam and to Sudan," Sheik Mohammed Jizouly said.

Soon after, several hundred Sudanese stormed into the German Embassy, setting part of an embassy building aflame along with trash bins and a parked car. Protesters danced and celebrated around the burning barrels as palls of black smoke billowed into the sky until police firing tear gas drove them out of the compound.

Some then began to demonstrate outside the neighboring British Embassy, shouting slogans.

Several thousand then moved on the American Embassy, on the capital's outskirts. They tried to storm the mission, clashing with Sudanese police, who opened fire on some who tried to scale the compound's wall. It was not clear whether any protesters made it into the embassy grounds.

The police then launched giant volleys of tear gas to disperse the crowd, starting a stampede. Witnesses reported seeing three protesters motionless on the ground, apparently dead, though there was no immediate confirmation of deaths in the violence.

Ahead of the expected wave of protests today — a traditional day for rallies in the Islamic world — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton explicitly denounced the movie, aiming to pre-empt further turmoil at its embassies and consulates. The film, called "Innocence of Muslims," ridicules the Prophet Muhammad, portraying him as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester.

"The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video," she said before a meeting with the foreign minister of Morocco at the State Department. "We absolutely reject its content and message." She said the video was "disgusting and reprehensible."

Egypt's Morsi said his TV address that "it is required by our religion to protect our guests and their homes and places of work," he said.

He called the killing of the American ambassador in Libya unacceptable in Islam. "To God, attacking a person is bigger than an attack on the Kaaba," he said, referring to Islam's holiest site in Mecca.

His speech came after President Barack Obama spoke with Morsi by telephone. The Obama administration has been angered by Morsi's slow response to the attack Tuesday night on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. He made little more than vague statements about it for days without an outright condemnation of the breach, in which police did nothing to stop protesters from climbing the embassy walls.

His silence reflected the heavy pressure that Morsi, a longtime figure from the Muslim Brotherhood, faces from Egypt's powerful ultraconservative Islamists. They are using the film issue to boost their own political prominence while challenging Morsi's religious credentials.

Leaders of Egypt's Jihad group, a former militant organization, held a conference in the Egyptian city of Alexandria and said anyone involved in "defamation" of the prophet should be killed. They called on Morsi to cut relations with U.S.

"I appeal to President Mohammed Morsi to cut our relations with those monkeys and pigs," said Rifaei Taha, a leading member of the group.

Several hundred people, mainly ultraconversatives, protested in Cairo's Tahrir Square after weekly Muslim Friday prayers and tore up an American flag, waving a black, Islamist flag. A firebrand ultraconservative Salafi cleric blasted the film and in his sermon in Cairo's Tahrir Square said it was upon Muslims to defend Islam and its prophet.

Many in the crowd then moved to join protesters who have been clashing for several days with police between Tahrir and the U.S. Embassy. "With our soul, our blood, we will avenge you, our Prophet," they chanted as police fired volleys of tear gas.

Elsewhere, one protester was killed in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli in clashes with security forces, after a crowd of protesters set fire to a KFC and a Hardee's restaurant. Protesters hurled stones and glass at police in a furious melee that left 25 people wounded, 18 of them police.

In east Jerusalem, Israeli police stopped a crowd of around 400 Palestinians from marching on the U.S. consulate to protest the film. Demonstrators threw bottles and stones at police, who responded by firing stun grenades. Four protesters were arrested.

Security forces in Yemen shot live rounds in the air and fired tear gas at a crowd of around 2,000 protesters trying to march to the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Sanaa. Though outnumbered by protesters, security forces were able to keep the crowd about a block away from the mission.

A day earlier, hundreds of protesters chanting "death to America" stormed the embassy compound in Sanaa and burned the American flag. The embassy said nobody was harmed. Yemen's president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, quickly apologized to the United States and vowed to track down the culprits.

In Tripoli and Benghazi, civil soceity groups planned demonstrations to voice their opposition to violence and the killing of the U.S. ambassador. Worshippers during Friday prayers said that they will carry flowers and lay them in front of the ambassador's house in Benghazi.

Over the past days, since the attack on the consulate, hundreds held protests in Benghazi and Tripoli city centers mainly against the attack on the consulate.

A small, peaceful demonstration was held today outside the U.S. Embassy in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Hundreds of hardline Muslims held peaceful protests against the film throughout Pakistan, shouting slogans and carrying banners criticizing the U.S. and those involved in the film.

Police in Islamabad set up barricades and razor wire to prevent protesters from getting to the diplomatic enclave, where the U.S. Embassy and many other foreign missions are located. Protests were also held in Karachi, Peshawar and Lahore, where protesters shouted "Down with America" and some burned the U.S. flag. About 200 policemen and barbed wire ringed the U.S. Consulate in Lahore.

About 1,500 protest in the eastern city of Jalalabad, shouting "Death to America" and urge President Hamid Karzai to cut relations with the U.S.

A prominent cleric in Indonesia urged Muslims there to remain calm despite their anger about the film. But Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, a branch of the international network that advocates a worldwide Islamic state, on its website blamed the U.S. government for allowing the film to be produced and released, calling it "an act of barbarism that cannot go unpunished."

Additional reporting by Osama Alfitory in Benghazi, Libya; Ahmed Al-Haj in Sanaa, Yemen; Bouazza Ben Bouazza in Tunis; Mohamed Osman in Khartoum, Sudan; Elizabeth A. Kennedy in Beirut; Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem and Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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kispest wrote:
Stupid caveman mentality, It's time, that our Government stop supporting those subhuman idiots!
on September 14,2012 | 07:32AM
tsboy wrote:
the only moderates speaking out against the violence is in Libya of all places. really? thats what i mean when i say that all muslims have to take the blame for being extremist, when the majority will not clamp down on the minority Islamists.
on September 14,2012 | 07:46AM
kainalu wrote:
Once you've introduced "religion" into the equation, the debate that follows becomes nonsensical. The inflammatory film obviously produced by a Christian extremist and promoted by the fundalmentalists, like the Rev. from Florida that organizes all the Quran burnings. Regardless of the brand of religion you add to the terms "extremist fundalmentalists", they're equally a threat to our Constitution and those related freedoms - Christian extremists equally as dangerous as Islamic extremists.
on September 14,2012 | 07:53AM
steelinhome wrote:
What extremists are living their mission to "kill all infidels?" Political correctness only encourages these savages. Maybe all the apologists for radical Islam should advocate Sharia law on 6 month trial basis where they live in the USA.
on September 14,2012 | 08:01AM
palani wrote:
Nonsense indeed, kainalu. There's no moral or legal equivalency between Constitutionally protected freedom of speech, however arguably objectionable, and Islamic religious fanatics routinely responding with violence. Where are the imaginary "Christian extremists" murdering the infidels?
on September 14,2012 | 08:44AM
hawaiikone wrote:
I'm a Christian, so are you truly afraid of me blowing you up, or more afraid of my vote? You seem to be more of a threat to the Constitution than I am.
on September 14,2012 | 09:23AM
lee1957 wrote:
Muslims aren't responsible for their lack of self discipline, the people wwho offend them are. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?
on September 14,2012 | 04:32PM
palani wrote:
These riots have NOTHING to do with some obscure homemade video, so quit regurgitating the White House line. We have an Administration which believes that apologies will protect us from another 9/11, or from twisted "commemorations" in the Islamic world.

The "Prophet" Muhammad needs no help from "infidels" to be denigrated. His followers do that very well.

on September 14,2012 | 08:01AM
tiki886 wrote:
None of the terrorists have seen the movie since what's on Youtube is only a short clip. Also notice that the Liberal media rushed to condemn Romney before they condemned the murderous terrorists?

These terrorists are burning the American Flag not the offending movie cassette or the DVD.Duh!?

Did someone say what a brilliant foreign policy that Obama has employed? The Middle East is on fire and Obama doesn't know what to do!!! With a dead Ambassador and two dead former Navy Seals, Obama ran away to Las Vegas to campaign for mo money!

on September 14,2012 | 06:49PM
steelinhome wrote:
Moderator: Please publish a list of forbidden words and ideas for the comment sections of The Star Advertiser. Thanks
on September 14,2012 | 08:03AM
ricekidd wrote:
agree.... I just wrote true and they sent it to approve,,,,
on September 14,2012 | 09:14AM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
@ricekidd Hey, you think you got it rough. Try posting anything on this story with my ID and the FBI shows up at the front door.
on September 14,2012 | 12:50PM
tiki886 wrote:
Hey home stealer, if they published a list it wouldn't appear in this forum because it is forbidden.
on September 14,2012 | 06:54PM
ya_think wrote:
This is not over some movie this is an afront to America period.
on September 14,2012 | 08:04AM
st1d wrote:
these "prostests" are as much about religion as the occupy movement is about anything.
on September 14,2012 | 08:32AM
Ronin006 wrote:
I watched the entire video and I am 100% convinced the message conveyed in the film is not what has set off the anger in the Muslim world. No, not at all. They are venting their anger at the terrible acting in the film.
on September 14,2012 | 08:43AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Muslims are very sensitive about production values. In particular, bad cinematography can inspire wrath and rage in Camelstan while the use of infidel grips and best boys can lead to wholesale jihad.
on September 14,2012 | 09:05AM
kailua000 wrote:
good one!
on September 14,2012 | 10:09AM
ricekidd wrote:
on September 14,2012 | 09:15AM
kailua000 wrote:
on September 14,2012 | 10:09AM
kailua000 wrote:
Has nothing to do with that video. It has to do with their hate for Americans who have freedom of speech, have life, liberty and the persuit of happiness and the ability to pray to any God of their choice or no God at all. The film is just an excuse, it has been on the internet since June. It was Sept 11 when this started up. Coincidence? No. They burn American flags, and in some countries they kill Christians or others who do not accept their religion, but Americans are not torching their embassies or burning their flags. They have no jobs to go to and they have the Muslim brotherhood supporting them. They have nothing better to do. Gang mentality.
on September 14,2012 | 09:01AM
kispest wrote:
Religion? Islam is NOT a religion, it's a blood thirsty cult!
on September 14,2012 | 11:17AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Just curious as to how many world government and religious leaders actually viewed this youtube? Did Hillary watch it or was she just "briefed" on it?
on September 14,2012 | 09:10AM
kailua000 wrote:
Does it matter? We have freedom of speech in this country, whether we agree or disagree with what others are saying. These riots have nothing to do with this movie. Its about hatred for the west.
on September 14,2012 | 10:08AM
kispest wrote:
Hatred and at the same time jelousy.
on September 14,2012 | 11:18AM
tiki886 wrote:
The Obama administration apologized for the movie first before they condemned the terrorists killings. Obama's failed foreign policy is coming home to ROOST!
on September 14,2012 | 07:01PM
ricekidd wrote:
So Sad that we all can't get along....protesters...I understand its their Heart and Soul but its 21st century.... Come on! Get a grip! violence is not the answer....
on September 14,2012 | 09:17AM
Kiki wrote:
A perfect example of intolerance being contagious. The idiot who made and then distributed the film should have been able to figure out that there would be a violent response from extremists. The fact that he is operating under several names shows he is not willing to take responsibility for his actions. Extremists of any kind only fan the fire. If they can lay hands on the film maker, he should be charged with murder. The loss of the ambassador and other Americans is as much his fault as the people who committed the physical act of murder. Auwe!
on September 14,2012 | 09:21AM
islandsun wrote:
Its really just hate crime, nothing else. We have to put a stop to financing these criminals and their governments.
on September 14,2012 | 09:42AM
kispest wrote:
Amen! (PS: I hope i pissed off a bunch of mus-slimes)
on September 14,2012 | 11:20AM
Ewaduffer wrote:
Time to dust off the old C47s and C130s with their Gatling guns and Daisy Cutters and do some crowd control.
on September 14,2012 | 11:17AM
tiki886 wrote:
Obama did not allow our Marines who were guarding our embassies to have bullets in their weapons. The C47s and C130a will be toothless paper airplanes flying as paper targets for our enemies to shoot down because Obama would rather bow down and apologize to our enemies.
on September 14,2012 | 07:07PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Okay, that's it. No more KFC for your guys in Lebanon. All these guys did was probably burn down a franchise owned by a Lebanese business owner and put a few of their fellow citizens out of work Nice going, they must be proud of themselves.. I guess when hate over runs the heart you do stupid things like this.
on September 14,2012 | 12:10PM
niimi wrote:
Didn't the alleged author turn out not to be an Israeli but someone else in California or something?
on September 14,2012 | 03:12PM
Ronin006 wrote:
And while our embassies and consulates in Muslim countries burn, Obama is off playing his fiddle on the campaign trail.
on September 14,2012 | 04:20PM
Ronin006 wrote:
And while our embassies and consulates burn, Obama is off playing his fiddle on the campaign trail.
on September 14,2012 | 04:27PM
Ronin006 wrote:
I had two comments sent for approval, apparently because they contained the "M" word for a particular mid-Eastern religion. My original comment was: “And while our embassies and consulates in M……. countries burn, Obama is off playing his fiddle on the campaign trail.” I took out the M word and the comment was immediately posted. I suppose the M word is offensive and now prohibited by the SA censors. What happened to First Amendment rights?
on September 14,2012 | 04:35PM
palani wrote:
They disappeared with the "War on Terror", replaced by the politically correct garbage characterizing this state department and Administration.
on September 14,2012 | 06:02PM
UHFAN1984 wrote:
Remember Islam was a peacful religion till Muhammad gathered his forces and got his army together then it was that convert or die thing .... Then we let them build their schools and training centers on US soil yet when you profile them the ACLU saws it's against the law. Tell me where are the greatest anounts of converts to this religion it's in the prision system and in poverty stricken neighborhoods where the future looks the bleakest which makes it an attractive option to strike out at your enemy.
on September 15,2012 | 12:09PM
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