Protests rock Muslim world

Protests rock Muslim world

Protests rock Muslim world

Palestinian men burn the US flag during a protest against a film mocking Islam, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. A group (inset) gathers in Istanbul’s Beyazıt neighborhood to protest the anti-Islam film. AFP photo

Angry demonstrations against an anti-Islam film spread to their widest extent yet around the Middle East and other Muslim countries on Sept. 14, as protesters smashed into the German Embassy in the Sudanese capital and security forces in Egypt and Yemen fired tear gas and clashed with protesters to keep them away from U.S. embassies.

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 an Arby’s restaurant. Protesters hurled stones and glass at police in a furious melee that left 25 people wounded, 18 of them police.

Protests were held in cities from Egypt to Pakistan on Sept. 14 following weekly Muslim prayers, with many clerics denouncing the obscure movie, which was produced in the United States and denigrated the Prophet Muhammad, in their sermons. The spread of protests comes after attacks earlier this week on the U.S. Embassies in Cairo and the Yemeni capital Sanaa and on a U.S. consulate in Libya, in which the ambassador and three other Americans were killed. Meanwhile, a Libyan airport official said all flights to and from the eastern city of Benghazi had been canceled due to security concerns.

In Sudan, a prominent sheik speaking 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, burning a car parked behind its gates and setting fire to trash cans.

Police firing tear gas drove the protesters out of the compound. Some then began to demonstrate outside the neighboring British Embassy, shouting slogans, while others left, apparently heading to the American Embassy, which is outside of the capital.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Sept. 14 he understood the outrage in the Islamic world over a video film that insults the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, but said it was no excuse for violence. Westerwelle added that the staff at the German embassy in Khartoum are safe.

Tunisian police fired warning shots after using tear gas in a bid to disperse several hundred protesters gathered outside the U.S. embassy in a Tunis suburb on Sept. 14.

Crowds also gathered against the California-made film for the second day in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Jordan and Iraq.

In east Jerusalem, Israeli police stopped a crowd of around 400 Palestinians from marching on the U.S. Consulate to protest the film.

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.

In Egypt, several hundred protesters massed 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 incumbent upon Muslims to defend Islam and its prophet. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood group called for peaceful protests in Tahrir to denounce the film.

A small, peaceful demonstration was held on Sept. 14 outside the U.S. Embassy in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

A prominent cleric in Indonesia has 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.”

The Gulf Cooperation Council on Sept. 14 condemned the anti-Islam film as well as the violence it has triggered, as Bahrain ordered that websites carrying the movie be blocked.

Compiled from AFP, AP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.