Pakistan Hit by Anti-Islam Video Protests

Al Jazeera, September 20, 2012

The US embassy in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, has become the latest target of protesters angry at an anti-Islam video that triggered protests in the Arab and Muslim world.

The total number of protesters reached around 5,000 later on Thursday with the arrival of protesters carrying the flags of hardline Islamist groups. At least 50 people were injured as police fired tear gas and live rounds towards the crowds.

Hundreds of students from various colleges and educational institutions in Islamabad had begun clashing with police as security forces tried to block them from reaching the embassy compound, which also includes the British and French diplomatic missions.

The students responded by pelting the police with stones, and the police retaliated by firing tear gas shells.

Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said the situation was eventually brought under “control” by police and the military.

“Police tried to control the crowd by firing in the air and using tear gas. But because of the size of the crowd, the police were forced to ask for help from the military,” he said.

Many thousands were trying to march but were prevented by the security forces, said our correspondent. He said military helicopters have been hovering over the area where the protests are taking place.

Several students were injured when policemen hurled the stones back at the crowd. According to local television channels, several policemen were also injured.

“Our policemen are not any better than the Americans because they are trying to stop us. They are in the same league as them, they are heretics like them,” said student Jawad Ahmed.

“They should allow us to demolish the American embassy because they have blasphemed against our holy Prophet. The police are also becoming an accomplice of blasphemers.”

Anti-American slogans

Protests took place in other parts of Pakistan as well. In Lahore, the cultural capital of the country, students from an Islamic school marched through the streets and chanted anti-American slogans.

In Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir, more than 200 protesters set fire to an effigy of Barack Obama, the US president.

“We will make known it by burning the effigy of Obama and his allies that a blasphemer deserves to be burnt to death,” said Maulana Mehmood ul Hassan Ashraf, secretary general of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam.

Large protests are expected on Friday, the weekly Islamic day of prayer, which has been declared a special public holiday in Pakistan, said our correspondent.

Hyder said the government was nervous and that several containers had already been brought in, as roads entering Islamabad were being blocked ahead of tomorrow’s protests.

State department warning

The protests coincided with a warning to US citizens from the state department to avoid travelling to Pakistan.

Officials upgraded their ongoing advisory about travel risks in Pakistan, explicitly advising Americans to put off any non-essential travel to the country. They “strongly urged” those who are already there to avoid protests and large gatherings.

The state department said the presence of al-Qaeda, Taliban elements and “indigenous militant sectarian groups poses a potential danger to US citizens throughout Pakistan”.

Protests broke out across the Arab and Muslim world, as well as some Western countries, when the video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad, Islam’s most revered figure, was posted on YouTube. Many Muslims regard any depiction of the prophet as blasphemous.

In Benghazi, Libya, a US consulate was attacked by angry rioters on September 11, killing the US ambassador to Libya and three of his colleagues.

Obama said on Wednesday the man behind the anti-Islam movie was a “shadowy character”.

The White House said the matter was still under investigation and that the situation in Libya was not hopeless although the road to a more stable future was “bumpy and at times dangerous”.

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Puggg

    Pakistan wasn’t “hit” by protests supposedly about the “video,” it was “hit” with unfortunate demographics.

    One of those protesters burned a Bible.  Should we riot in earnest, or just do like first world people do, write him off as a kook and a crank?

    Question:  If the people in that part of the world were Christians, and we were Muslims, would “P*** Christ” make them riot and this video not matter to us?  What I’m driving at is that I think religion in this race is not much more than a front for race.

    • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

      Puggg: “What I’m driving at is that I think religion . . .  is not much more than a front for race.”

      ==========

      Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning sociobiologist E. O. Wilson would agree.  Excerpt from and In-Depth (3-hour) BookTV.org interview with Wilson, August 5, 2007:

      CALL-IN LISTENER: How do you explain man’s capacity for brutality against out-groups . . . ?

      WILSON: …I think it’s embedded in the trait of humanity that we haven’t paid enough attention to.  We’re often nowadays saying, well, you know, religious extremism is the cause of all our troubles.  It isn’t.  It isn’t.  It’s the instrument and proximate justification extremists use — that they are obeying God when they kill, murder, take over.  What really is — how shall I say it  — the killing field of humanity is tribalism.

  • jedsrael

    We owe the dusky Muslims a big thanks for teaching us once again just how incompatible Diversity is with White Humanity’s privilege, survival, and future.

    But watch these same protesters earn immigration rights to America through some back door program you’ll never hear about. They’ll be resettled and given govt. grants to develop their community in your neighborhood. If you complain, you’ll end up on the SPLC’s Hate Watch list and your employer will be boycotted until he fires the Racist White Supremacist that you are.

    • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

      Puggg: “What I’m driving at is that I think religion . . .  is not much more than a front for race.”

      ==========

      Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning sociobiologist E. O. Wilson would agree.  Excerpt from and In-Depth (3-hour) BookTV.org interview with Wilson, August 5, 2007:

      CALL-IN LISTENER: How do you explain man’s capacity for brutality against out-groups . . . ?

      WILSON: …I think it’s embedded in the trait of humanity that we haven’t paid enough attention to.  We’re often nowadays saying, well, you know, religious extremism is the cause of all our troubles.  It isn’t.  It isn’t.  It’s the instrument and proximate justification extremists use — that they are obeying God when they kill, murder, take over.  What really is — how shall I say it  — the killing field of humanity is tribalism.

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

    “What I’m driving at is that I think religion . . .  is not much more than a front for race.”
    ==========

    Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning sociobiologist E. O. Wilson would agree.  Excerpt from and In-Depth (3-hour) BookTV.org interview with Wilson, August 5, 2007:

    CALL-IN LISTENER: How do you explain man’s capacity for brutality against out-groups . . . ?WILSON: …I think it’s embedded in the trait of humanity that we haven’t paid enough attention to.  We’re often nowadays saying, well, you know, religious extremism is the cause of all our troubles.  It isn’t.  It isn’t.  It’s the instrument and proximate justification extremists use — that they are obeying God when they kill, murder, take over.  What really is — how shall I say it  — the killing field of humanity is tribalism.

  • IstvanIN

    And our ever wise federal government is bringing in Pakistani refugees.  Just what we need.  I say close our embassy there, pull out all our troops in the region and let India deal with them sub-continental Muslims as they see fit.

    • I agree.  We give the Pakistanis maybe two billion dollars in aid each year.  (Actually, we borrow money from China to give it to them.)  One quote is really upsetting: ““They should allow us to demolish the American embassy because they have blasphemed against our holy Prophet.”  We can do that for them–let’s just pull out the embassy, cut off aid, and (most importantly) ban their immigration to or university studies in the United States.  Let Darwinism run its course with these people, as they can’t survive in the Dark Ages that they wish to live in.  It does not serve American interests to be feeding Pakistanis and making them stronger and more numerous.

  • JohnEngelman

    According to a poll released December 2, 2010 by the Pew Research Center 76 percent of Muslims in Pakistan favor the death penalty for Muslims leaving the faith. In Egypt 84 favor the death penalty for that. In Jordan 86 percent do.
                                
    http://www.pewglobal.org/2010/12/02/muslims-around-the-world-divided-on-hamas-and-hezbollah/