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» 09/17/2012
Hezbollah launches a week of protests against anti-Islam film
by Paul Dakiki
The leader of the Shiite militants waited for Pope Benedict XVI’s departure from Lebanon. Seven days of demonstrations around the country. Islamic countries must apply for an international law prohibiting insults to Islam and other religions. In Libya 50 people arrested and detained linked to the U.S. consulate attack, where Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed. Libyan President says leaders of the attack, planned months before, are members of al Qaeda.

Beirut (AsiaNews) - A few hours after the conclusion of Benedict XVI's visit to Lebanon, in a televised address the Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, announced seven days of protests against a blasphemous film about Muhammad and against the United States, where it was produced.

Nasrallah pointed out that he intentionally waited for the departure of Benedict XVI before launching the initiative. " Those who should be held accountable, punished, prosecuted and boycotted are those directly responsible for this film and those who stand behind them and those who support and protect them, primarily the United States of America". He said that Arab and Islamic governments should press for an enforceable international law banning insults to Islam and other religions."

Nasrallah also asked Muslim Arab countries to press for an international law prohibiting insults to Islam and other religions.

The protests will be held this afternoon in Beirut, in the southern suburbs, where Hezbollah has a very strong following, on Wednesday in Tyre, Baalbek Friday and Saturday in Bint Jbeil, Sunday in Hermel and eastern Bekaa.

He also asked Muslims around the world to demonstrate against the film which, he described as "the worst attack ever on Islam, worse than The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, the burning of the Koran in Afghanistan and the cartoons in the European media."

Just a few days ago, the United States launched some sanctions against the Hezbollah leader Nasrallah and two others for their support for Bashar al-Assad. Since 2001, the U.S. considers Hezbollah a terrorist group.

In Lebanon, in these days of the Pope's visit there were no demonstrations against the film except in northern Lebanon, in Tripoli, where the population is predominantly Sunni.

But the protests against the blasphemous film are spreading in much of the Islamic world, supported mostly by fundamentalist Muslims. This morning, about 1,000 people demonstrated in Kabul (Afghanistan). Yesterday a rally in Karachi (Pakistan) ended with clashes between police and demonstrators, with one dead.

Most governments in the Islamic world, while condemning the film, however, are distancing themselves from the violence and protests that followed, most notably Libya, where on the night of September 11, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked and Ambassador Chris Stevens and three staff members killed.

Yesterday, on a US television broadcast, president of Libya's interim assembly Magarief Mohammed said that his government has arrested 50 people connected to the consulate attack. Magarief said some of those arrested are not Libyans, and are linked to al-Qaida, from Mali and Algeria. He called the others who were arrested "sympathizers of al Qaeda."

But Libyan interior minister Fawzi Abdel A'al has said that only four people were arrested, while the other - about 50 - have only been detained for questioning.

According Magarief, the attack on the consulate was planned some months before by "foreigners" who used protests against the blasphemous film to attack the target.

In contrast, Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the UN, said yesterday that the government's preliminary information indicates that the  attack on the consulate was not planned.



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See also
09/14/2012 LIBYA - ISLAM
Arrests in Benghazi over U.S. consulate attack as Islamic world rises against Mohammed film
05/07/2008 LEBANON
Gunfire, bombs, people wounded in Beirut over the strike supported by Hezbollah
by Paul Dakiki
06/22/2011 LEBANON
Beirut bans film on Tehran’s Green Wave
09/13/2012 LIBYA - USA
Destroyers and marines sent to Tripoli, in anti-Islam film "war"
09/18/2012 ISLAM
Anti-US protests, moderate Muslims condemn violence

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