Indonesians protest anti-Islam film at U.S. Embassy

By Niniek Karmini

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Sept. 14 2012 5:20 a.m. MDT

Philippine National Police anti-riot unit prepare to secure the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines on Friday Sept. 14, 2012. U.S. embassies across the world ramped up security Thursday following an attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, as Muslims angry over an anti-Islam film stormed the U.S. mission in Yemen and clashed with police near the American mission in Cairo.

Bullit Marquez, Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia — About 200 Indonesians showed their anger over an anti-Islam film Friday by chanting "death to Jews!" and "death to America!" in a largely peaceful protest outside the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy.

They waved black flags and held signs that read: "America has to be responsible for Islamophobia worldwide" as they marched in Jakarta, capital of the world's most populous Muslim nation. U.S. diplomatic outposts increased security worldwide this week after clips of the film went viral online and sparked violent protests in the Middle East.

"We came here because we want the U.S. to punish whoever was involved with the film," protester Abdul Jabar Umam said. "They should know that we are willing to die to defend the honor of our Prophet."

About 20 protesters outside the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur shouted "Allahu akbar!" and handed reporters a letter addressed to the American ambassador in Malaysia that expressed their anger over the movie and called for greater respect for religions.

The low-budget film "Innocence of Muslims" ridicules Islam and depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman. American and Middle Eastern leaders have denounced the film and condemned acts of violence. In Libya, the American ambassador and three other staff members were killed when the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked.

Indonesia's government has been working to block access to clips of the film online, and a prominent cleric has urged calm. But others are calling for Muslims worldwide to defend the dignity of the Prophet Muhammad.

Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, a branch of the international network that advocates a worldwide Islamic state and the ones who organized the protest, on its website blamed the U.S. government for allowing the film to be produced and released, calling it "an act of barbarism that cannot go unpunished."

"Why do these people seek problems by disturbing our peace? They knew the risk they were facing by angering people," said Muhammad Al-Khaththath, leader of another hardliner group. "There's only one way to stop our anger: Give the death penalty to the filmmaker and the actors."

Meanwhile, authorities in the Muslim-majority region of Indian Kashmir have asked the government to block the videos, the region's top police official Ashok Prasad said Friday.

The local government has also placed five top separatist leaders under house arrest. They are routinely detained when protests or violence is expected.

Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad, Kashmir's state-appointed cleric, was quoted as telling local media that Americans are not welcome in the area.

"The U.S. citizens visiting Kashmir should leave immediately as the sentiments of the Muslims have been hurt by these pictures," Ahmad told the Kashmir Reader, an English daily.

Police say they are investigating the cleric's statement.

Associated Press writers Sean Yoong in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Aijaz Hussain in Srinagar, India, contributed to this report.

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