Muslims' US Flag-Burning Protests Spread to the West

Daily Mail (London), September 15, 2012 | Go to article overview
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Muslims' US Flag-Burning Protests Spread to the West


Byline: Mail Foreign Staff

DIPLOMATS were in fear for their lives yesterday as increasingly violent protests against an anti-Muslim film swept the Islamic world - and even hit London.

Staff at the British and German embassies in Khartoum, Sudan, locked themselves inside as thousands of angry demonstrators raged and lit fires outside.

In London, 150 protesters marched on the US embassy chanting 'Burn burn USA' as the American flag went up in flames, soon joined by the Israeli flag. There was a call for Sharia law to be imposed over Britain, and police made two arrests.

Among the rabble-rousers leading the protesters was notorious demagogue Anjem Choudary - who has led a number of Islamist groups that were subsequently banned.

But Sudan and London were just two among many locations involved as terrifying riots and demonstrations spread halfway around the globe from Morocco in the west to Bangladesh and Malaysia in the east. American embassies and symbols - including a branch of Kentucky Fried Chicken in the Lebanon - were the primary targets for fury.

The wave of hate has been sparked by the obscure film Innocence Of Muslims, which was produced in America and has been criticised for ridiculing Islam and depicting the prophet Mohammed as a fraud, a womaniser and a madman.

The film was apparently produced by a Coptic Christian living in California, using funds raised by radical American evangelicals and Egyptian Coptic Christians.

Since clips were shown on Arab television it has provoked ever-growing outrage - including the murder in Libya on Tuesday of the US ambassador - despite American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton having made clear that 'the United States government had absolutely nothing to do' with the 'disgusting and reprehensible' video.

Last night a British foreign office spokesman confirmed Sudanese police were tackling a rampaging crowd outside the British and German embassies in Khartoum.

The German embassy attracted particular ire apparently because Sudan's foreign ministry had criticised Germany for allowing a protest last month by right-wing activists carrying caricatures of Mohammed, and because Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2010 gave an award to a Danish cartoonist who depicted the prophet in 2005, triggering protests across the Islamic world.

This week, the toll of dead and wounded spread across the world at a bewildering speed.

In the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, a mob set fire to a KFC and an American Hardee's restaurant, leading police to open fire - killing one man. Another 25 were wounded in the chaos, including 18 police.

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