Muslims protest film, cartoons amid death calls
22 September, 2012
SIDON/BASRA/PARIS: Muslims around the world took to the streets on Friday to vent their anger over an anti-Islam film and blasphemous cartoons.
In the Lebanese port city of Sidon, clerics called "a day of rage" against the blasphemous film and cartoons but urged followers to contain their anger to inside their mosques.
French schools were closed and the army was deployed at French institutions in Sidon, Beirut and the northern city of Tripoli, in anticipation of a backlash against the publication of the obscene cartoons in a French satirical magazine.
Separately, thousands of supporters of Hezbollah took to the streets after Friday prayers in the eastern city of Baalbek, an AFP correspondent said.
Several clerics in Tripoli called for Saudi Arabia and Egypt's Al-Azhar to issue a fatwa condoning the murder of anyone associated with the film and for those who denigrate Islam.
In Iraq, thousands of people protested against the film on Friday in Basra, burning American and Israeli flags and carrying pictures of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The protesters marched for more than an hour in central Basra, some carrying large posters of Khamenei, while police and soldiers deployed in the area, an AFP correspondent said.
They shouted slogans like "No, no America, no, no Israel" and "Yes, yes for the Messenger, we sacrifice for you, O Messenger of God". The protesters also burned US and Israeli flags.
On the other hand, France banned protests against cartoons denigrating the Holy Prophet (PBUH) as part of a security clamp-down while prayers took place across the Muslim world.
The country's Muslim population, drawn largely from ex-colonies in North and West Africa, shrugged off the controversy as imams in mosques denounced the pictures but urged their followers to remain calm.
The drawings have stoked a furore over the anti-Islam film made in California that has provoked sometimes violent protests in several Muslim countries, including attacks on US and other Western embassies, the killing of the US envoy to Libya and a suicide bombing in Afghanistan.