Movie Sparks Riots and Attacks on Embassies across the Middle East

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A poster poses for a photo during the attacks on the United States Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.
Afghan protesters march in Jalalabad, Afghanistan chanting anti-American phrases.

         Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Indonesia, Kuwait, Iran, Nigeria,  Afghanistan,  Bangladesh, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Israel and Sudan. Besides  being countries that make up the region of the Middle East and Africa, they have all been making headlines since Sept. 11.

        Sept. 11, 2012 that is. On that Tuesday, the United States embassy in Benghazi, the capital of Libya, was attacked resulting in the death of United States Ambassador Christopher Stevens, along with former Navy SEALS Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty.Woods and Doherty provided security for the Ambassador and the embassy. Also killed in the attacks was United States information technology specialist, and Air Force veteran, Sean Smith.

The ongoing attacks on the United States Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.

Since the first attacks on Tuesday, there have been riots, protests and demonstrations outside of United States embassies all across various Muslim nations. On Wednesday rioting erupted in Egypt’s’ capital Cairo, outside the now heavily fortified United States embassy. It continued into Thursday, which had a reported 224 people wounded, and one killed from protesters and guards.

On Friday the protests continued in Cairo. Around 300 protesters gathered, throwing stones and chanting various religious phrases such as “There is no god but Allah.” Meanwhile in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, approximately 200 rioters blocked streets and attacked guard offices surrounding the United States embassy. Twenty-nine protesters were injured, and an American school was set ablaze outside the United States embassy in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia.

A Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Hardees restaurant was also set on fire in Tripoli, Lebanon, while security forces fired on protesters resulting in 25 wounded.The German embassy in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, was attacked on Friday by several hundred protesters burning trashcans and cars. Twenty other protests and demonstrations have been reported in 15 other countries such as Malaysia, Turkey and Great Britain.

A Kentucky Fried Chicken and Hardee’s restaurant was set on fire during a protest in Tripoli.

The cause of these attacks is suspected to be in protest of an anti-Islamic American made film entitled the “Innocence of Muslim.” The film depicts the Prophet Muhammad, a very prominent figure in Islam religion and culture as a womanizer, homosexual and child abuser. “A lot of people don’t know that one man’s laugh is another man’s serious offense,” said senior Alfonso Rodrigues of Bloomsburg University in response to the film.

A scene from the controversal movie “The Innocence of Muslims.”

The amateur filmmaker, who is responsible for the film’s release and distribution on the Internet, is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. The Egyptian born, currently residing in Los Angeles, California, is a Coptic Christian and has previous convictions for drug and fraud charges. Also given credit for the spread of the film is fellow Coptic Christian, Morris Sadek. An investigation is not being made into the film, but rather whether Nakoula violated a probation sentence given in 2010 on limited Internet use.

Although the film is still considered to be the main source of the anger and violence. There has been speculation that the intitial attack was planned in advanced by militants, according to Libyan officials. The White House released a statement, that although the investigation was ongoing, it was most likely violence was generated by the film.  “I believe there are more underlying insults to the entire religion than the film,” said Emma Eckmin, junior at Bloomsburg University.

Dee Wymer, professor of Archaeology at Bloomsburg University, who has been to numerous digs in Egypt’s famous sites since 2004, spoke about the atmosphere and culture many of the protesters come from, “In Egypt much like most developing countries, there are two worlds; a few modern big cities and everyone else. Most are just trying to survive, feed their families. The folks out in the country are sympathetic towards the angry protesters, but most are angry at the protesters.”

Those protesting the violence that has been unleashed on embassies across the globe have been witnessed. “They (Islamic culture) don’t ignore it, it’s a sad thing that they are willing to kill for it, the saddest that they are willing to be killed for it,” said Hossein A. Abbassi, professor of Economics at Bloomsburg University.

Protesters rage on in Cairo, Egypt upset over the dipiction of their prophet Muhammad.

The attacks continued through the weekend and into this week.   On Tuesday, Sept. 18, one week after the first attacks 12 people were killed in a suicide bombing along a road side in Kabul, Afganistan. Thus taking the death toll to 28 people. On whether the attacks would continue, “It’s going to vary by country and how each country responds,” said Peter Doerschler, professor of Political Science at Bloomsburg University.

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