Friday, 14 September 2012

Muslims seethe with anger over film


SANAA: The Muslim world seethed with anger yesterday as anger spread over a film mocking Islam.
Demonstrators briefly stormed the US Embassy compound in Yemen yesterday while protesters pelted the Egypt mission with stones after a night of clashes.
Yemeni police used water cannon and fired warning shots to expel protesters who breached the perimeter wall, and at least one demonstrator was shot dead and several others were injured outside the compound as police battled to prevent any new incursion.
Demonstrations were also held in Iraq, Iran, Gaza and Bangladesh as anger over the US-produced movie spread.
The protests came even as US and Libyan officials said they had launched investigations into a mob attack on the consulate in Benghazi that killed the ambassador and three other US officials on Tuesday, amid growing speculation it was the work of jihadist militants rather than just demonstrators.
In Sanaa, some protesters said they saw three vehicles being torched inside the compound before police ejected the demonstrators who had broken through.
After being driven back from the main gate, the crowd regrouped near a checkpoint some 100 meters back, chanting anti-Jewish slogans.
“O, Jews: Khaybar, Khaybar. The army of Mohammed will return,” they shouted, evoking a 7th century war in the west of the Arabian Peninsula in which the Muslims defeated the Jews.
Gaza protest, called by the Hamas Ministry of Religious Endowments, was attended by several hundred Muslims.
Ismail Radwan, Hamas minister of religious endowments, called on the protesters gathered outside the legislative council building in Gaza City to “boycott American products.”
He called for new demonstrations to be held after Friday prayers.
Protesters held banners reading “Where are you Muslims, when your prophet is being insulted?“
In Tel Aviv, around 60 Arab-Israeli protesters demonstrated outside the US Embassy, in a protest called by the Islamic Movement in Israel. “We came to protest against the producers of this movie and the United States which allowed it to be made,” protester Zahi Nijidat told AFP.
Demonstrators chanted slogans against US President Barack Obama and criticized the film.
In Cairo, police fired tear gas to disperse the latest protest outside the embassy by stone- and bottle-throwing demonstrators, which came after a night of sporadic clashes in which the health ministry said 16 people were injured.
Armored vehicles were deployed around the mission, an AFP correspondent reported.
On Tuesday night, protesters stormed the compound, tearing down the Stars and Stripes and replacing it with a black Islamic flag.
Egypt’s President Muhammad Mursi condemned the offense caused by the US-produced movie but warned against resorting to violence.
“We Egyptians reject any kind of assault or insult against our prophet. I condemn and oppose all who... insult our prophet,” he said in remarks broadcast by state television.
“(But) it is our duty to protect our guests and visitors from abroad,” Mursi said. “I call on everyone to take that into consideration, not to violate Egyptian law... not to assault embassies.”
In the Iranian capital Tehran, up to 500 people protested, chanting “Death to America!” and to the movie’s director.
In Dhaka, about 1,000 Muslims tried to march on the US Embassy in Dhaka yesterday to protest against the film, police and witnesses said. Members of the Khelafat Andolon demonstrated in the capital and threatened to step up their protests after they were blocked from approaching the US Embassy. There were no reports of violence.
“We will stage bigger protests over the issue and may also besiege the US Embassy,” said Moulana Hemayetuddin, a senior leader of the group. The protesters wearing white caps threw their fists in the air as they chanted anti-US slogans. They burned a US flag and demanded an immediate apology from the United States.
On Wednesday, protests were held outside US missions in Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia. In Tunis, police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of several hundred.