Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Protesters Overrun US Embassy In Egypt Over Mysterious Movie

No one can actually verify what film the protesters are supposedly upset about which makes the protests against the US Embassy in Cairo all the more odd and disturbing. Reuters and USA Today can't seem to track down the film, but regardless of the facts and circumstances, a group of protesters set out to overrun the US Embassy in Cairo. They succeeded in taking down the US flag for a time and scrawling graffiti referring to not disgracing the name of the prophet Mohammad.

From Reuters:
"This movie must be banned immediately and an apology should be made ... This is a disgrace," said 19-year-old, Ismail Mahmoud, a member of the so-called "ultras" soccer supporters who played a big role in the uprising that brought down Hosni Mubarak last year.

Many Muslims consider any depiction of the Prophet to be offensive.

Mahmoud called on President Mohamed Mursi, Egypt's first civilian president and an Islamist, to take action. Many others were supporters of Islamist groups.

About 20 people stood on top of the embassy wall in central Cairo, where about 2,000 protesters had gathered.

"There is no god but Allah, Mohammad is Allah's messenger. We will sacrifice ourselves for you, Allah's messenger," they chanted, with many waving religious flags.

A U.S. embassy official had no immediate comment on the protesters' actions but the embassy had put out a statement earlier on Tuesday condemning those who hurt the religious feelings of Muslims or followers of any other religions.

"We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others," the U.S. embassy said in its statement.

One slogan scrawled on the walls of the embassy, a fortress-like structure that is near Tahrir Square where Egyptians revolted against Mubarak, said: "If your freedom of speech has no limits, may you accept our freedom of action."

An Egyptian state website carried a statement by Egypt's Coptic Orthodox church condemning what it said were moves by some Copts living abroad "to finance the production of a film insulting Prophet Mohammad".

About a 10th of Egypt's 83 million people are Christians.

It was not immediately clear which film angered protesters.

However, according to the website www.standupamerianow.org, the Christian Pastor Terry Jones, who angered Muslims by burning a copy of the Koran, was due to take part in an event on Tuesday called "International Judge Mohammad Day" in Florida in which it would symbolically put the Prophet on trial and play it out live over the Internet.

"Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy," the U.S. embassy statement said, adding that it condemned the efforts by "misguided individuals" to hurt the feelings of Muslims.
What's interesting is that you've got hundreds of people protesting a film allegedly being made in the US but not a single person can actually cite the name of the film. Moreover, it appears that FARS (Iran) is pushing the claim that Egyptian Coptic Christians are behind the film and fanning sectarian violence that will inevitably result from such claims.

So, the only "film" that could even fit the profile is some Internet production by Terry Jones who's got quite the reputation for hating Islam and showing a tremendous amount of religious intolerance.

That might be what they're protesting, but as with most kinds of protests across the Arab world, all it takes is a rumor for things to take hold, and no amount of debunking will stop things.

What we do know is that Egypt has been hit by several waves of sectarian violence since the fall of Hosni Mubarak and Coptic Christians have been under assault from Islamists who are asserting themselves at the Coptic Christians' expense.

According to twitter links to this website provided by NJDhockeyfan, the name of the film is Life of King of Islam but there's no reference in IMDB.com. It was supposedly done by Sam Basil (again no reference in imdb), but they refer to Terry Jones' actions. There's also a reference to Dutch involvement, but it's not clear what is being referenced.

The Atlantic seems to have run down more details, though there's way too much speculation about who is behind the film, their intentions, and other salient details.
The movie is called Mohammed Nabi al-Muslimin, or Mohammed, Prophet of the Muslims. If you've never heard of it, that's because most of the few clips circulating online are dubbed in Arabic. The above clip, which is allegedly from the film (update: Kurt Werthmuller, a Coptic specialist at the Hudson Institute, says he's confirmed the clip's authenticity) is one of the only in English. That's also because it's allegedly produced by Florida Pastor Terry Jones (yes, the asshole who burnt the Koran despite Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' pleas) and two Egyptians living in the U.S., according to Egyptian press accounts. The Egyptians are allegedly Coptic, the Christian minority that makes up about a tenth of Egypt.

Obviously, there's a lot to this story that's still unclear. What we do know is that some members of Egypt's sometimes-raucous, often rumor-heavy media have been playing highly offensive clips from the highly offensive film, stressing its U.S. and Coptic connections. In the clip below, controversial TV host Sheikh Khaled Abdallah (known for such statements as "Iran is more dangerous to us than the Jews" and that Tehran had engineered a deadly soccer riot in Port Said) hypes the film as an American-Coptic plot and introduces what he says is its opening scene.
A second American embassy has been besieged, this time in Libya. Libyan security forces have been fighting against unknown militias in the vicinity of the American embassy.

The AP reports that Morris Sadek is promoting the video on his website and on some television stations.
Morris Sadek, an Egyptian-born Christian in the United States known for his strongly anti-Islam views, said in an interview from Washington that he was promoting the video on his Web site and on certain television stations, which he did not identify.

He said the video “explains the problems of the Copts who suffer from Muslims,” for which he blamed the Koran.

For several days, the Egyptian news media have been reporting on the movie, playing excerpts and blaming Mr. Sadek for it, with ultraconservative clerics going on the air to denounce it.

Medhat Klada, a representative of Coptic Christian organizations in Europe, said Mr. Sadek’s views did not represent those of expatriate Copts.

“He is an extremist,” he said in an interview from Switzerland. “We refuse any attacks on religions because of a moral position.”
This has the feel of the cartoon jihad in the making - where more than 100 people were killed around the world, several embassies were ransacked and torched, and all because of the publication of cartoons in a Danish publication, Jyllands Posten.


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