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Egyptian Muslims maintain protest at US embassy against anti-Islam film
Angry demonstrators continue protest at US mission for second consecutive day against controversial film mocking Islam and its Prophet, vow escalation on Friday unless US government offers formal apology
Ekram Ibrahim , Wednesday 12 Sep 2012
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Protesters at us Embassy in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)

Crowds of angry, mainly Muslim, protesters gathered before the US Embassy in Cairo on Wednesday evening to denounce a short film – produced by a US-Israeli filmmaker – that critics say defames Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.

In the dim light, a couple hundred protesters chanted against the US and repeated pro-Islam slogans. "God is Great," they shouted. "We heed your call, oh Prophet of God."

Separated from the walls of the US embassy by lines of Egyptian policemen and armoured cars protecting the diplomatic mission in downtown Cairo, protesters voiced rage that someone had dared to produce a film that they perceive as defaming their prophet and that no officials had formally apologised for the movie.

"I'm here to voice my displeasure with the defamation of this sacred person, the Prophet Mohammed," said 29-year-old protester Maha Ahmed.

Demonstrators demanded an apology from the US government, saying that if no such apology was forthcoming by Friday they would stage an open-ended sit-in. On Friday, members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist parties and others are planning a million-man rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square to register their anger.

When asked, most protesters said they did not belong to any particular political group, stressing that no one had asked them to come to the protest. Protesters were mainly male; only very few women could be seen among the demonstrators.

Most men sported long beards, while the few female protesters wore veils.

Protesters said that police personnel were very friendly with them, neither violent nor aggressive as they had been during the era of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

"They let us protest and take down the American flag from the embassy," Ali Hafez, a member of the 'Trustees of the Revolution Assembly' told Ahram Online. "These changes are a result of the new administration of [Islamist President] Mohamed Morsi."

Unlike Tuesday's protest, Coptic-Christian demonstrators could not be spotted at the scene. The first day of the protest had featured members of Coptic organisations, such as activist group Maspero Copts United, who protested to register their rejection of religious defamation.

"We took part in the protests since we know what it's like to suffer from insults to our religion; we can relate to how the Muslims feel now," Hani Ramsis, a leading member of Maspero Copts United, told Ahram Online via phone.

Initially, the film was thought to have been made by US-based Coptic-Christian activists, but was later found to have been produced by US-Israeli dual-national filmmaker Sam Bacile. The false news about Coptic involvement in the film was initially spread by some local news agencies.

In response, protester Abu Islam Abdulla, owner of the Islamist-oriented Al-Umma television channel, set fire to a Christian Bible in the middle of the protest, according to an eyewitness at the scene and a video that appeared online. While some protesters appeared to welcome the contentious act, others appeared to voice disapproval, say witnesses.

"But why not burn the Bible when they approve of burning our Quran?" the woman protester told Ahram Online.

A number of protesters condemned the notion of burning Bibles, pointing to Islamic proscriptions against defaming Jewish and Christian symbols.

The film was promoted by Maurice Sadek, a controversial Coptic figure living in the US, along with Pastor Terry Jones, a firebrand American Christian preacher known for organising mass burnings of Muslim holy book the Quran.

The incident appears to have prompted resentment towards Egypt's Coptic-Christian community.

"Several Facebook groups are warning us about possible attacks and murder," Ramsis said. "What did we do deserve this?"

Some protesters attributed the film to Zionist groups, which, they say, want to degrade Islam and sow sectarian division between Egypt's Christians and Muslims.

"We tell these Zionists: you aren’t capable of making war with God," Ahmed Mubarak, a lawyer and Islamic Law expert, told Ahram Online.

The protests against the controversial film coincided with the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington. A similar protest outside the US consulate in Benghazi left four American officials dead, including the US ambassador to Libya.

Many Egyptian political groups and figures condemned the film, while others denounced the violent reactions in Libya.

Tarek El-Zomor, spokesman for Egypt's Gamaa Islamiya movement, for his part, censured Tuesday's protest at the US embassy in Cairo, denying that any Islamist groups – or their respective youth wings – had taken part in it. El-Zomor went on to describe the removal of the embassy flag as "illegal and against Islamic Law," but praised the Cairo protest's peaceful nature. 

Egypt's Democratic Front Party, for its part, criticised the North America-based group Expatriate Copts, holding it responsible for the offensive film and accusing it of trying to stir strife between Muslims and Christians in Egypt.

The party went on to urge President Morsi to postpone his scheduled US visit, slated for 24 September, to register Egypt's objection to the film.

Islam forbids the depiction of the Prophet Mohammed in any manner. A Danish newspaper's publication of 12 caricatures of the prophet in 2005 sparked riots in several Muslim countries.





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ben
11-06-2013 03:26am
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reaction, growing up, and the first ammendment
does anyone here understand that this film was most likely made to get this kind of reaction? the middle east needs to grow up. our government shouldn't have to apologize for somthing it never supported. you need to realize that the first ammendment is a double edged sword, good things can come from it but there will be others who will take advantage of that ammendment, who will use it to hurt others, our government has a responsibility to uphold the first ammendment and can't make ANY exceptions, if it did then the first ammendment is a lie
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HASIM
13-09-2012 08:09pm
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fools
are these who riot and say it is for are religion .when most show no respect in truth to there own how can this be women are treated badly they are quik to show in many muslim country hey do not want or like churches or other religion so how yet there are many good peoples caugth up in this we can not all like each others but we should show respect even if we dont follow in the others ways
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ADEL ALSHEAR
13-09-2012 02:41pm
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A GO ACART ZIOINST AGENCY FORM ME
THIS IS BY THE NEWS HAV EBEOCME BY RIGHT PIRNT THIS IS IN NOW TIME HAVE TO GO A CART ZIOINST A GENCY FORM ME . THIS IS HAVE A GO SPYID FOR ZIOINST AGENCY FORM ME
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10



Spo101
13-09-2012 10:06am
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Neo-Con bs
I’m telling you something stinks this whole situation. The Neo-Cons move the greedy fanatic savages around the Middle East like so many pawns on a chess board. 9-11-12 The breaking news in Libya and Egypt is a farce. The same covert-op, Christian, neo-con devils who instigated the protests before the Iran Hostage taking incident during the Carter Administration are perpetrating these traitorous acts AGAIN! The situation in Iran led to the defeat of Jimmy Carter to Ronald 6 Wilson 6 Reagan 6... Big monied interests are paying off Libyan-Egyptian locals to storm US compounds in a concerted effort to bring down Obama/Biden before the election. By the way, what has Ollie North been up to recently? Learn to THINK again on consciousmc.blogspot.c**
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Kevin
14-09-2012 07:03pm
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LOL
If anyone needs to learn to think again, it would be you and your 666 of Ronald Reagan. I'm glad that liberal trash like you will never amount to anything more than liberal trash.
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Caise
13-09-2012 07:43am
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Bigoty
The events of the past few days show the unfortunate consequences of bigotry and prejudice on the lives of people. A film defaming Muhammed and Islam is defended by some in the West as evidence of free speech, but this occurs in the context of major wars of aggression against Muslims. This type of mass propaganda and stereotyping convinces Americans to turn a blind eye to the massive casualties caused by American wars. This bigotry in turn sparks bigotry and stereotyping amongst Muslims in Egypt. Angered at the US already for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and decades of support for dictators like Mubarek, Egyptian Muslims interpret the bigoted film as representative of all American opinion toward Muslims. Hence, the attack on the embassies and upon what some Muslims perceive as the religious symbol of the USA, the Bible. This is as ignorant and fictitious as the film was malevolent. It is time that we have a thawing in American-Muslim relations and see events in the political a
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wendeth
14-09-2012 01:23pm
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circular problem
this does not only progress the bigotry against Muslims, but also it progresses the bigotry against people in the US and Christians. Perhaps we should also not forget there are just as many or more people against this type of behavior. Everyone needs to remember, news is spread by the same types of people, and only hate and violence seems to sell no matter what region of the world you are in.
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scotty perey
13-09-2012 04:37am
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Message of Peace
May all of Egypt and Libya, and all of the Arab World, and all of Islam PLEASE know that America does NOT stand behind this insult. Please also understand that even the actors of this horrible film were tricked into being a part of such a disgusting and intentional attempt to divide us and inflame us and spread hatred among us. Romney is a dog. Obama has no spine. Please do not look to them as our representatives, because there are many, many of us within the United States’ borders who are here in Solidarity with all of you who stand for Peace and Justice and Respect for All People. May we all be stronger and wiser than those who are purposely trying to point us against each other. Thank you.
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medo
13-09-2012 01:12am
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disgusting!
so, Abu Islam Abdulla, owner of a T.V channel, believes that burning a Bible, which contains Jesus (who is recognised is Islam) is acceptable? Yet when people burn our Koran it is wrong? What argument do we have when uneducated people who know NOTHING about Islam behave in this way? This man is a disgrace to the religion he says he represents, If someone were to burn a Koran on the streets of Cairo, he would be in prison straight away! People who post anti-islamic cartoons on facebook that show our prophet Muhammed in a bad light are also jailed... but why do the authorities allow people to burn Bibles and brainwash people and do nothing? is this a taste of what the "new Egypt" will be like, the same as before, one rule for one group... and another rule for another" I am a Muslim and ashamed by this!
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TT
13-09-2012 06:28am
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Expect from Salafiyah?
Dude, are you expecting Salafiyah and Wahhabiyah to be something good? There are a lot of mosques vandalized in West Bank and France, why don't they riot over French embassy? Also, Quran were destroyed in Western countries as well, but no reactionary response was heard from them.
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Bev Lewis
13-09-2012 01:02am
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The Manipulation Game
It appears to me that a member of a certain religious group is knowingly perpetuating a conflict between Americans, who are upset because one of there own was taken down and Muslims who are defending their religious belief system and the their Prophet. The discord between Jew and Muslims has always been. People are reacting like puppets, strings being pulled, while one cries innocent.
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Bev Lewis
13-09-2012 01:02am
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The Manipulation Game
It appears to me that a member of a certain religious group is knowingly perpetuating a conflict between Americans, who are upset because one of there own was taken down and Muslims who are defending their religious belief system and the their Prophet. The discord between Jew and Muslims has always been. People are reacting like puppets, strings being pulled, while one cries innocent.
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Bart
13-09-2012 06:02am
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Typical Arab BS
Arabs are well-known for being exceptionally paranoid about Jews (because the Jews consistently beaten Arab armies!) as well as trying to blame others for their own failure to adapt to current times (most Arabs are illiterate but can recite Koran because they were forced to memorize it instead of alphabet or mathematic formulas). Bev, or whatever your real Arab name is, is typical of this breed. By the way, free press investigation (not Arab, of course!) has beenidentifying real actors behind the film, and they are not Israelis or American Jews. Wait, and you will learn the true identities (and no, "Bev", this is NOT a CIA or Mossad operation to screw Arab feelings. Who cares about their feelings?!
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jane seymour
13-09-2012 12:50am
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An Act of War
Attacking an embassy can be interpreted as an act of war! How can the US be held to blame for a couple of Americans making a stupid movie? The best way action is to ignore it, as most people with any intellect would do. As a Western Christian living in Egypt, I have been insulted many times. I never once thought to attack the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or kill anyone which was the case in Libya. Really it is the Egyptians and the Egyptian government who should apologize for the attack on their embassy and offer sincere condolences for the death of a great Diplomat in Libya. The US has already expressed their anger over any offense felt due to the film! How can you hold the US government responsible for the actions of a few!
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Ansari
14-09-2012 03:09am
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To Jane Seymour
Jane, Attacking an embassy can be interpreted as an act of war! How can the US be held to blame for a couple of Americans making a stupid movie. Attacking innocent citizens by drones is an act of war.It is not attack on Embassy it the way Egyptians showed their disgust on US part. US responsibility is to assure Egyptians that they will arrest and prosecute the perpetrators who violated decent civil rights by attacking the ideals of 1.5 billion MUslims. US resposibility is clear. The movie is clear indication that it was planned directed by Egyptian Christian Copts, financed by 100 Jewish donors.
AA
13-09-2012 09:31am
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Works both ways...
Well, if you can argue that the US and i quote "cant be held to blame for a couple of Americans making a stupid movie", then it can be argued that Egypt, cannot be blamed for a couple of people making known their disappointment and rioting in front of an embassy. This is not Libya where someone was killed. The police was there and protected the embassy. Noone was hurt and nothing was really vandalized except one flag. Cant blame the enitre country for that either! Its a double edged sword.

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