Much of the Muslim world has been roiled with anti-American demonstrations after word surfaced on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 about a film — made in the United States — that insults Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Riots broke out at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. In Libya later that night, the U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three of his staff members were killed during an attack on the consulate in Benghazi.
Three days later, anti-American protests spread from Morocco to Indonesia — and beyond. Even in Britain, some 250 demonstrators marched peacefully through London to the U.S. Embassy. In Sudan, rioters broke into the German Embassy and set part of it on fire.
The upheaval injected itself into the U.S. presidential race, which had been focused on the sour economy. Republican Mitt Romney lashed out at the Obama administration, saying its statements expressed sympathy for the protesters “instead of condemning their actions” in the diplomats’ deaths. President Barack Obama responded, accusing Romney of shooting from the hip because the administration’s statements came before the deadly attack.
The film, “Innocence of Muslims,” depicts the prophet as a womanizer and a child molester. Muhammad is so revered by pious Muslims that they are not even allowed to draw an image of him.
Clips of the film were posted on YouTube,which blocked access to them in Egypt and Libya after the first demonstrations, and days later in India and Indonesia, but it was still accessible in other countries. "We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions,” YouTube said in a statement. “This can be a challenge because what's OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere.”
Click ahead to see some of the fallout from this clash between the West’s cherished freedom of expression and the Muslim world’s insistence on respect for its traditions.
14 September 2012