Protesters in Cairo on Friday. Photo published on Twitter by @TheMiinz
Tensions remain high in the Muslim world over “Innocence of Muslims”, a video recently published on YouTube. Protests denouncing the video as insulting to Islam, and in particular to its Prophet Muhammad, have taken place in several Muslim countries on Friday and over the weekend. We asked several protesters to tell us what shocked them most about the video.
While many protesters denounce this “movie”, there is no proof that the video, presented as an excerpt, is actually part of any full-length movie. The video posted to YouTube, which is 13 minutes long, depicts the Prophet Mohammad, his wife Khadija, and his companions. The low-quality production seems to have been dubbed in order to make fun of these characters. (The cast of the film confirm that their words were dubbed.) The dialogue also denigrates the Koran and presents Muslims as paedophiles.
Protests against the video began last Wednesday in Cairo and in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. In Benghazi, the US ambassador to Libya lost his life during an attack on the consulate. Protests then spread like wildfire. Western embassies were attacked in Sudan and in Tunisia. Four protesters were killed in Yemen, four in Tunisia, three in Sudan and one in Tripoli, Lebanon.
Protests are set to continue in Lebanon – on Sunday evening, the head of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, denounced the video and called on the group’s supporters to demonstrate on Monday afternoon.
Protest march in Baghdad, Iraq.
"I may not know the details of these video, but I find it unacceptable that anyone would depict the Prophet in the first place"
Mahmoud Seddik Agha is a student who lives in Sudan's South Kordofan region. He took part in a protest against the video on Friday afternoon.
Because I live in South Kordofan, I have very limited access to Internet and to the media. Therefore I was unable to do my own research about this film.All I saw was a short excerpt, maybe a few minutes long, that a Sudanese friend living in the United States sent me by email. I don’t understand English very well, but my friend explained that it was a parody and that its goal was to ridicule Islam and Muslims, as well as to insult the Prophet Muhammad. And yesterday, at the mosque in my neighbourhood, I saw a poster inviting worshippers to attend a meeting where the film’s content would be explained.I am against the use of violence and I condemn what happened in Libya. This is very bad for the image of Muslims throughout the world. However, I do think it is necessary to go out and protest so that the world understands that this film insulted millions of people. I may not know the details of these insults, but I find it unacceptable that anyone would depict the Prophet in the first place. [Many Muslims believe the Koran bans all depictions of the Prophet. Cartoons of the Prophet caused protests throughout the Muslim world in 2006.] And in any case, I don’t think so many people would go out in the street without a reason.
"I protested to ask the United States to ban the film"
Ahmed Abbas al-Bacha took part in a protest in Taiz, Yemen’s second largest city.
My friends told me I shouldn’t see the movie because just watching it would constitute a sin. Still, I wanted to understand its contents, so I watched an excerpt dubbed into Arabic on YouTube. I was quite shocked. In the excerpt, which lasted 13 minutes, our Prophet – blessed be his name – was portrayed as a sex addict and a paedophile. The film also claims Christians were oppressed by Muslims, which I believe is false.So I decided to take part in a protest on Thursday, along with thousands of others, to denounce this awful anti-Islam production and ask the United States to ban it. I understand that the United States government is not responsible for making this movie. But perhaps lawmakers could pass a law banning anti-Muslim acts.
"I didn't watch the video - it would have disgusted me"
Younessgera lives in Casablanca, Morocco.
On Thursday afternoon, I joined a protest in front of the United States embassy, which is located near my workplace. Protesters were brandishing signs that read, ‘Everything except the Prophet’. The protest was quite peaceful – there were no insults or acts of violence.Personally, I decided not to watch the video because it’s against our religion to depict the Prophet. And in any case, watching Mohammad being made fun of would have digusted me.People here know that the United States government has nothing to do with this awful video. But they wanted to show their anger in front of the US embassy because that’s the country in which the film was made.
In Casablanca, protesters chanted "Obama, Obama, we are all 'Osamas'!" (in reference to Osama Bin Laden).