09/14/2012, 00.00
INDIA
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As anti-Islam movie causes protests in India, imams call for calm

by Nirmala Carvalho
In Jammu and Kashmir, hundreds of Muslims take to the streets, burning Israeli and US flags, demanding the removal of the offensive movie from YouTube. "It is our right to protest against this vile act," Muslim religious leaders say, but "we must not indulge in destructive acts. We must remain peaceful."

Srinagar (AsiaNews) - The protest against a blasphemous Muhammad movie has not stopped. It shockwave now has reached India. In Jammu and Kashmir, hundreds of Muslims poured into the streets today, burning Israeli and US flags, demanding that the movie be removed from Youtube and other social networks. Local sources told AsiaNews that no acts of violence have been recorded. This morning, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the state amid tight security, which prevented incidents.

On 11 September, an armed group attacked the US consulate in Benghazi (Libya) as a reprisal against a movie that insults Muhammad. US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three of his staffers died in the attack. Quickly, the protest spread to other Muslim countries.

Most protests are in the Kashmir valley where Muslims represent more than 90 per cent of the population. As worshippers left mosques at the end of Friday prayers, they shouted slogans against the movie's maker.

In their sermons, imams appealed to the community not to vandalise public and private property during their protest.

At the same time, "It is our right to protest against this vile act, perpetrated to hurt Muslim feelings," one Muslim leader said. "However, we must not indulge in destructive acts. We must remain peaceful."

Communist Party of India (Marxist) Jammu and Kashmir political leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami slammed the video as well as the violent reactions.

"There has been enough bloodshed around the world," he said. "We must make an effort to promote peace and harmony. Such actions do not help in that direction."

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