Protests against the American film Innocence of Muslims has begun to spread all over the world. There’ve been attacks on American Embassies worldwide as Muslim anger against American policies and meddling continued. The protests involved hundreds of thousands; for the most part, they’re peaceful, with the largest part of the most serious violence directed at American Embassies and businesses, and in one case, protesters burned down an American school. Since the murders in Benghazi, there have been no reports of violence against Americans.
Mass protests by Muslims continue to spread to more and more countries as outrage in the Islamic world escalates due to the trailer of an American film ridiculing the Prophet Mohammed called Innocence of Muslims, which appeared on the internet. Although the film was the spark that lit the flames of the violence, massive longstanding grievances and anger against the USA and its attempts to force its policies on countries worldwide, as well as the constant meddling of the USA into affairs in Muslim world are now serving to feed the escalating violence. The deep socioeconomic problems in Arab Spring countries, something that hasn’t been addressed, is also playing into the hands of Islamists and adding more fuel to the crisis.
All over the world, governments are asking Muslims to show restraint and not to escalate the level of violence. On Friday, the protests spread from Egypt and Libya to other countries including Israel, Sudan, Tunisia, and Yemen. There were also widespread protests in countries outside the Middle East, including but not limited to Bangladesh, Kashmir, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Qatar.
In Jerusalem, a protest near the Damascus Gate turned violent when protesters began throwing rocks at police. Apparently, the protesters began to head in the direction of the American Consulate, but the police stopped them by using concussion grenades. According to Ynetnews, there were protests in Akko, in the Wadi Ara region, and in the towns of Baqa al-Gharbiyye and Umm al-Fahm, which were for the most part peaceful.
Yemen saw some of the most violent protests with reports saying that security forces killed four protesters who were rioting near the American Embassy.
In Khartoum, hundreds of protesters stormed the German Embassy and set it on fire. Police used teargas to dispel the protesters, who then began protesting outside the British Embassy nearby.
In Kashmir, in some of the largest anti-American demonstrations so far, at least 15,000 people took part in dozens of protests, chanting “Down with America”, “Down with Israel”, and calling US President Barack Obama a “terrorist”. The country’s top cleric demanded that Americans leave the region immediately.
In Chennai, protesters threw stones at the American Consulate, shattering some windows and burned an effigy of Obama. Police arrested more than 100 protesters.
In Bangladesh, about 5,000 people marched in Dhaka burning American and Israeli flags and calling for the death of the film-maker. Police stopped them from reaching the American Embassy.
In Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, protests were extremely peaceful, as only about 200 protesters held a peaceful protest outside the heavily-guarded American Embassy in Jakarta.
There were more protests in Tehran, including demonstrations outside the Swiss Embassy (which represents American interests in Iran). Reports say Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, denounced the anti-Muslim film during Friday prayers.
Three protesters were killed outside the American Embassy in Tunis, where demonstrators attempted to enter the compound. The demonstrators included ordinary Tunisians and Salafist activists. An American school was also set on fire.
Hundreds of protesters attempted to march towards the American Embassy in Islamabad and were stopped by police far from the city’s diplomatic quarter where the embassy is located.
Protesters filled the streets of Doha and lined the city’s main highway. No violence was reported.
In closing, I’d personally like to ask all Muslims to show restraint and demonstrate peacefully, as this was another provocation. Those who made the film want to see violence and want you to overreact. If you react violently, you’ll be playing into their hands.
Voice of Russia World Service