Benghazi (AsiaNews) - On the day of protests held in various Muslim countries against the blasphemous video on Muhammad and the French satirical cartoons, young Libyans (pictured) lined up against terrorism and violence. In Benghazi, place of the attack on the U.S. Embassy, which cost the life of the diplomat Christopher Stevens, the Libyan Youth Movement held a peaceful March of thousands against the protests organised by Islamists in front of Western consulates. Young members of the movement are demanding the end of terrorism and invite Islamist militias responsible for the attack on the Consulate to put down their weapons and join the regular army. During the March, the demonstrators also chanted slogans in favour of security, accusing the police of being hostage to the guerrillas.
Meanwhile there continue in Pakistan and Egypt the anti-Western protests, which began last September 12 with the diffusion of the film "The Innocence of Muslims". In Pakistan, the "day of love for the prophet" called by the government gave rise to violent clashes in Karachi and Peshawar, where protestors attacked a movie theater. In Islamabab the authorities deployed the army, after clashes occurred with police during the night. So far no churches or Christian building or those of other religious minorities have been attacked.
In Egypt, hundreds of Islamists gathered after Friday prayers in front of the French Embassy in Cairo to protest the satirical cartoons of Mohammed published last September 19 by the weekly Charlie Hebdo. Yesterday, Paris ordered the closure of the diplomatic offices and French schools in Cairo and in 19 other countries.
Fr. Rafic Greiche, spokesman of the Catholic Church in Egypt, said that "so far the situation is calm; the Salafis have urged their members to demonstrate peacefully. However, there are fears for the intrusion of violent groups that often exploit events to cause havoc and clash with law enforcement". By order of the Egyptian President Morsi, engaged in a visit to the United Nations Headquarters, also the Muslim Brotherhood have deserted the event.
"The Muslim population wants to give a different image of Islam," the priest underlined, "in Egyptian newspapers there have appeared many articles critical of the assault on the U.S. Embassy on September 12. According to many political and religious leaders, the images of anti-Western hatred which appeared on networks around the world are a wonderful advertisement for the creators of the anti-Islamic film and detractors of the Muslim religion". The same Muslim Brotherhood has accepted the invitation of French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault who instead of violent demonstrations has recommended legal action against the satirical French newspaper. Yesterday, Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud, a lawyer member of the brotherhood announced the formation of a team of French and Egyptian lawyers to evaluate the crime of inciting inter-religious hatred committed by the perpetrators at Charlie Hebdo.
Even Tunisia, home to the Islamists of Ennahda (Muslim Brotherhood), opposes manifestations of anti-Western hatred. After announcements of new demonstrations by Salafis, the Tunisian authorities banned any demonstrations in the city center. Since yesterday the army has guarded the diplomatic headquarters and foreign schools. (S.C.)