Egypt's Morsi calls for calm

2012-09-13 22:23

Cairo - Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Thursday slammed a film deemed to mock the Muslim prophet but warned against the use of violence as angry protesters clashed with security outside the US embassy in Cairo.

Police fired teargas to disperse the latest protest by stone - and bottle-throwing demonstrators, which came after a night of sporadic clashes, in violence that has left over 200 people injured according to the health ministry.

"We Egyptians reject any kind of assault or insult against our prophet. I condemn and oppose all who... insult our prophet," Morsi said in remarks broadcast by state television in reference to the controversial film.

"[But] it is our duty to protect our guests and visitors from abroad," said the president, who is on a visit to Brussels.

"I call on everyone to take that into consideration, not to violate Egyptian law... not to assault embassies," he added, referring to a Tuesday assault on the US mission in Cairo in which protesters tore down the Stars and Stripes and replaced it with a black Islamic flag.

Morsi condemned an attack the same evening on the US consulate in Benghazi in neighbouring Libya, which claimed the lives of four American officials, including the ambassador.

"We condemn what happened in Benghazi," Morsi said.

"We all know that killing innocent people goes against Islam. The freedom to express opinions and demonstrate... are guaranteed but without attacks on private or public property, diplomatic missions or embassies."

Morsi said that he had spoken with US President Barack Obama and told him that it was necessary to put in place "legal measures which will discourage those seeking to damage relations... between the Egyptian and American peoples."


Armoured vehicles were deployed around the US embassy in Cairo on Thursday, an AFP correspondent reported.

Clashes calmed down by the evening, with clusters of protesters - most in their teens or even younger - gathered in the streets leading up to the US embassy in central Cairo, AFP reporters said.

"We are not leaving until the US president apologises to all Muslims," Ahmed Khalil told AFP, as security forces continued to fire tear gas.

One can insult "anything, anyone but the Prophet. Even my mother and father but not the prophet", said one other protester.

"In the United States there is a law against speaking against the Holocaust. We also want a law that prosecutes anyone who insults the Prophet," said another protester, Magdi Bassiouni.

Thursday's clashes have left 224 people injured, eight of whom needed to be transferred to hospital, said health ministry official Ahmed al-Ansari.

Protests against the film Innocence of Muslims were also held on Wednesday outside US missions in Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia.

In Tunis, police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of several hundred, while Yemeni police shot dead a protester when they opened fire on a crowd attempting to storm the US embassy in San'aa.

The low-budget movie, in which actors have strong American accents, portrays Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent.


It pokes fun at the Prophet Mohammed and touches on themes of paedophilia and homosexuality, while showing him sleeping with women, talking about killing children and referring to a donkey as "the first Muslim animal".

Mystery has deepened over the film, with conflicting accounts from backers and promoters but no one owning up to having actually directed it.

US media initially cited someone claiming to be an American-Israeli calling himself Sam Bacile as saying he made the film on a $5m budget with the help of 100 Jews, but no record of such a person has been found.

Coptic Christians have been accused of promoting an Arabic-adapted version of the English-language film in Egypt, where clips were shown on an Egyptian television channel at the weekend, apparently setting off the protests.

And a late Wednesday report cited by US media identified Nakoula Basseley Nakoula as saying he managed the company that produced the film, and that he was a Coptic Christian.

Obama called Libyan as well as Egyptian leaders to review security co-operation following the violence, the White House said.

Obama urged Egypt to uphold its commitments to protect US diplomats and called on Libya to work with US authorities to bring those behind the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi to justice.

"President Obama underscored the importance of Egypt following through on its commitment to co-operate with the United States in securing US diplomatic facilities and personnel," it said.

Both attacks were initially believed to have been motivated by outrage over the US-made amateur internet film, but US officials later said the Benghazi attack might have been a planned, pre-meditated assault by jihadist militants among the crowd.

  • Johannes Bothma - 2012-09-14 05:43

    illegal 4 muslims 2 kill innocent people! To them all are infidels and should b killed!

      Gcodi Mahomed - 2012-09-14 06:22

      if there is any truth in your comment,you being an infidel,you would have been dead long time ago,

      Zaid Cassiem - 2012-09-14 06:47

      no person who murders another can be called a person who slanders another can call themselfs a muslim.the killings in libya was unjust,those responsible shoulb b punished.the film potrays Islam as a violent religion,it is not Islam the religion that is violent,but the few individuals that are over reacting.Yes u can defend ur religion but never ever if u call yourself a muslim can u use force and blatant disregard for the laws of Islam.

      jaba.kov - 2012-09-14 08:40

      Zaid - how many is a "few individuals"? The masses are going crazy over a pathetic movie while turning a blind eye to Muslims killing 26000 Muslims in Syria in the last few months alone. do not forget that 80% of Muslims are killed by Muslims and not by "infidels"... you call yourselves a religion of peace but i call you hipocrites... There is hardly a conflict in the world that doesn't have Muslims involved. Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, East Timor, Indonesia, Gaza, Kashmir, Kosovo, Kurdistan, Macedonia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Chechnya, Serbia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, etc. Zaid, where did all the Christians and Jews that lived in the Arab world go? Why are Gays disappearing in Iran and Saudi… why are women stoned for being raped in this world you seem to represent?

  • Panafricanparliamrntraw - 2012-09-14 06:58

    This development in Egypt has been condemned by OOAIG in its strongest term and an investigation has been ordered to determine the interest behind the making of the film. “African Leadership, political interest or people should not be divided through any means or any interest”. This is the statement coming from OOAIG leader. Peace has to return to warring African countries especially those countries where leaders has been overthrown through the use of the disturbing “people interest” a means employed by interests to over throw leadership not cooperating with their advances.

  • jerry.mathers.315 - 2012-09-14 08:14

    Religion makes people stupid and dangerous. Just ignore the stupid film.

  • jaba.kov - 2012-09-14 08:27

    “protesters tore down the Stars and Stripes and replaced it with a black Islamic flag...” The West is still blind to the intentions of the new immigrants to Europe... their number now stand at 10% of Europe's population... wait till they declare Sharia when the population reaches around 30%! As far as I know Islam is the religion of Submission not the religion of peace. If I am wrong, and it is the religion of peace - then I would require proof...

      ztoefy - 2012-09-14 08:45

      submission to God's law. Europe is a Democracry so if ever there is Sharia law implemented it's because the masses have voted for it. Please don't come with you ignorant comments,Actually surprised you didn't emmigrate to Australia or some other White dominated Country when the ANC took over. Lets practice PEACE in our country and to foreigners without having to resort to insulting or provoking people of different races,cultures or religions. It serves no purposes creating movies / cartoons like this other than to get a negative reaction. Make PEACE not WAR!

  • Rashida Patel - 2012-09-14 09:04

    What's the big issue that 4 americans killed??? Hundreds killed and maimed daily by americans. Is american life more important?? Where is this cowardly film maker ?

      bose.knows.7 - 2012-09-14 09:49

      The four Americans were part of a diplomatic core. An attack on them was an attack on the US. Militants being killed is war and then you also say something which is purely propaganda brainwashed into your gullible little mind ,"Hundreds killed and maimed daily by americans". What a lot of rubbish.

  • K9Lakhan - 2012-09-14 15:58

    hold the phone... As south africans, we should not get involved with the outside world problems. why be provoked over a film ment to provoke? ( seems like this carries more weight then feeding a nation? educating a generation, you as south africans should be leaders - because when the WW3 is over - you would be needed to rebuild. one neutral country should be strong enough to lead the other weaker ones and unite the dispersed - and that country should be South Africa and neutral South Africans )

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