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Wild Demonstrations Over Anti-Moslem Film …

  • September 17th, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

islam-demos-9-12-3.jpgCOMMENTARY: The wild street demonstrations across the Moslem world, focused on an anti-islamic propaganda film on the Internet, have spread to other places including Australia.

It began with the murder of the United States Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans, during rioting in Benghazi, on Tuesday night, 11.9.12 – the anniversary date of the “nine-eleven” terrorist attack on New York and Washington.

ORGANISED ATTACKS

Actions had included the use of weapons such as rocket propelled grenades, raising arguments that the trouble had come from organised groups operating under the cover of the mob action.

Two more people were killed in Tunisia, and two others in Sudan, as the trouble spread through several countries, most fiercely in Egypt, then further afield to Pakistan and Indonesia.

EU POSITIONS

At Khartoum on Friday they mobbed the British embassy and set fire to the embassy of Germany, prompting a rebuke from the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, that the actions were against the “rules of the civilised world.”

“Nothing justifies violence against embassies, against diplomatic personnel and I hope that all the issues can be treated in a peaceful, respectful way”, he said.

The European Union High Representative, Catherine Ashton, called on governments in the Middle East to ensure the protection  of foreign representatives.

The EU in the meantime has pursued its hardly antagonistic line on conflict in the Middle East, on Friday announcing  new funding of €100-million (A$124.5 million; xe.com, 16.9.12)  for Palestine.

This would be for “water and sanitation and supporting refugees, as well as a package of support to Area C (the part of the West Bank under direct Israeli occupation), amongst other things.”

It pointed out that the EU is the largest donor to the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), adding “today’s package brings the EU’s aid to the OPT for 2012 to a total of €200-million (A$249-million), to which a further €100 million of 2011 credits to be spent in 2012 should be added. …”

While targeting America and other Western interests, the protests have not been widespread to date in  Europe, with some reported in London, Paris and Antwerp, and with Islamic organisations, such as the main representative body in Germany, speaking up for moderation and calm.

BAD FILM

Radical Islam has proven especially sensitive to ridiculing of the Prophet Mohammed, as in this film, in any form — seen as extreme blasphemy.

In the realm of sectarian enmity, fundamentalist Islamic groups will declaim against the “Cross”, but as for blasphemy, have not themselves been known for blaspheming against the character or holiness of Jesus Christ.

The Jewish faith is less privileged; several broadcasting outlets in  the Middle East carry anti-semitic fare, including persistent references to the much-discredited document said to contain a plan for world domination by Jewry – the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The trouble this time, at a similar level of propaganda, is the trailer made in California for a low-budget film that is said to have been completed in the United States, but is very obscure.

The film is called “Innocence of  Moslems”.

It is all but universally described as puerile, ill-intentioned and badly made.

American police have begun interviewing purported producers of the film, seeking out one from the Coptic Christian community claiming to have obtained funds from Jewish donors.

HISTORY

(The episode follows a succession of conflicts over publications ranging from debatable treatments of a theme to outright vilification of the Islamic founder; notably the fatwa, 1989-98, against the British author Salmon Rushdie, and the pursuit of a Danish cartoonist over scurrilous drawings published in 2005.

last-temptation.png(Things are more temperate in the present epoch, in Christendom, although in a celebrated case, the film, “The Last Temptation of Christ”, Martin Scorsese’s 1988 adaptation of the appreciable novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, drew heavy fire. It disclaimed a basis in scripture but many of the faithful took deep exception to the depiction of Christ under temptation; and representation of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute, runaway daughter of a Rabbi. Fundamentalist groups launched threats and confrontations in the street; in the end a cinema where the film was being screened in Paris was burned down).

ACTION IN AUSTRALIA

islam-demos-9-12-1.jpgIn Australia, several hundred from the Muslim community paraded through the central business district of Sydney on Saturday (pictures), amid violent incidents including rock throwing at the police.

islam-demos-9-12-2.jpgPolice turned out in force; four officers were injured, and they made six arrests.

Violent demonstrations being rather rare in Australia, the shock effect of the event was compounded by the slogans, calling for beheadings and suchlike, and by adults taking children into the fray.

Government leaders, the Opposition and State government authorities condemned the hysteria and said it was greatly out of step with majority feeling in the Muslim community.

Police are going through CCTV footage and media material, and have indicated they expect to make further arrests.

Community groups like the Lebanese Muslim Association say it was a case of provocateurs making trouble and have been  helping the police with their search.

Similar action in Paris, where a court of investigation, the parquet de Paris, is to inquire into a demonstration on  Saturday at the Place de la Concorde, near the American embassy, and also the Interior Ministry and the Presidential palace.

According to Le Monde, on Monday, between 200 and 250 Islamist protestors rallied against the film, “Innocence of Muslims”; more than half of them now under investigation, many saying they’d been called in by SMS messages.

Opposition sources say they want to know why that activity was allowed in a sensitive zone, in Paris.

Reference

DWE, Bonn, “EU Calls on Muslim Governments to Protest Embassies”. 15.9.12. http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,,16243836,00.html, (16.9.12).

EC, Brussels, “The European Commission announces new large-scale support the Occupied Palestinian Territory”,  IP/12/964, 14.9.12.

Euronews, Lyon, “Waves of protests spread into Europe”, 16.9.12. http://www.euronews.com/2012/09/16/waves-of-protests-spread-into-europe/, (16.9.12).

Le Monde (AFP),Paris,  “Film anti-islam : 150 manifestants arrêtés près de l’ambassade américaine à Paris”, (Anti-Muslim film: 150 demonstrators arrested close to the US embassy in Paris), 17.9.12. http://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2012/09/16/washington-evacue-ses-personnels-non-essentiels-de-tunisie-et-du-soudan_1761002_3210.html#xtor=EPR-32280229-[NL_Titresdujour]-20120917-[titres], (17.9.12).
NOW Lebanon, Beirut,  EU condemns attacks on German, British embassies, 14.9.12. http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=436661, (16.9.12).


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