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Middle East

Saudi Arabia condemns anti-Islam film, attacks on US

Video by Kyle G. BROWN

Latest update : 2012-09-14

Saudi Arabia on Thursday condemned an amateur film that has provoked rage in parts of the Arab world for being anti-Islam while denouncing the anti-American protests that caused the death of the US ambassador to Libya and three other officials.

• Saudi Arabia outraged by film, but denounces violence against US interests
• Clinton says film is "disgusting" and "provokes rage"
• US embassy in Yemen stormed by hundreds, four protesters shot dead
• YouTube access blocked in Egypt and Libya to prevent viewing of film
• Violence spreads across Muslim countries as outrage over "insulting film" grows

Saudi Arabia condemned on Thursday a film Muslims consider blasphemous to Islam while denouncing the violent anti-American protests it sparked in some Middle East countries.

"Saudi Arabia has expressed... its condolences to the United States of America for the victims of violent actions in Libya that targeted the American consulate in Benghazi," state news agency SPA reported citing a senior official.

The kingdom also denounced what it called the "irresponsible" group that produced the film, which was deemed by some to be insulting to the Prophet Mohammed, while condemning "the violent reactions that occurred in a number of countries against American interests".

The statement followed US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's condemnation of the film on Thursday, stressing that the US government had nothing to do with it.

"To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose, to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage," Clinton said.

"The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message."

But she reiterated: "There is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence."

Arab outrage over the virulently Islamophobic film, "Innocence of Muslims", spread to Yemen earlier in the day when hundreds of angry protesters stormed the US embassy in Sanaa. 

Egyptian president reacts

Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi condemned the offence caused by the US-produced movie which has caused offense to Muslims, but warned against resorting to violence.

Morsi has promised that Egypt would honour its obligations to ensure the safety of American personnel on Egyptian soil.

"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," Morsi said. "I call on everyone to take that into consideration, not to violate Egyptian law... not to assault embassies."

Police used water cannons and fired warnings shots to drive the protesters out of the building, according to an AFP correspondent at the scene. Four protesters were shot dead and 34 others were wounded in the violence. 

The protests in Sanaa come two days after a similar attack on the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi resulted in the deaths of four US citizens, including the US ambassador in Libya, Christopher Stevens.

There were also reports of fresh scuffles outside the US embassy in Cairo on Thursday, a day after protesters scaled the embassy walls, ripped down the US flag and replaced it with the black Islamic flag.

FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Cairo, Sonia Dridi, said most of the protesters there were men, a mix of Islamists and football supporters “who have been a regular fixture at protests in Egypt” since the 2011 overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak.

The U.S. embassy in Kabul has appealed to Afghan leaders for help in “maintaining calm” and Afghanistan ordered the YouTube site shut down so Afghans would not be able to see the film.

YouTube, owned by Google Inc, said it would not remove the clip but blocked access in Egypt and Libya.

(FRANCE24 with wires)

Date created : 2012-09-13


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