Anti-Islam Film Damages US-Arab Relations
15 Sep 2012 12:18 GMT
 

CAIRO - Mass demonstrations at US embassies in several Arab countries over the past few days against a US-made anti-Islam film have deteriorated America's relations with Arab spring countries, adding more burdens on the newly (more)

CAIRO - Mass demonstrations at US embassies in several Arab countries over the past few days against a US-made anti-Islam film have deteriorated America's relations with Arab spring countries, adding more burdens on the newly elected rulers.

"These events will badly influence the Arab countries... which have witnessed most furious protests over anti-Islam film," Fakhry Tahtawi, professor of Political Sciences in Cairo University, told Xinhua on Friday, September 14.

Violent protests engulfed several Arab and Muslim counties over a US-made film insulting Prophet Muhammad.

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In Egypt, one of the largest, longest-lasting protests took place, leaving at least 224 people injured, including six officers and 18 soldiers.

Security forces have arrested 23 violent protestors.

Five protesters were killed in Yemen, while one was killed in Lebanon.

Protestors also attacked the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi, an attack that left the US ambassador and three other diplomats dead.

Titled “Innocence of Muslims”, the film, set in the modern era, shows an Egyptian Coptic Christian fleeing from an angry Muslim mob. Egyptian police looked on while the mob smashed up a clinic where a Christian doctor worked.

The film was posted on YouTube in June but drew attention last week when an Egyptian-American Copt produced a trailer in an Arabic-language blog post and e-mail newsletter publicizing the movie.

The movie was promoted by US pastor Terry Jones, who angered Muslims in 2010 with plans to burn the Noble Qur'an.

Jones called the film a "satirical" movie on the life of the Muslim Prophet, saying he showed a promotional video trailer after staging a symbolic "trial" of the Prophet.

US Intervention

The anti-Islam film was regarded as embarrassing for the newly elected Islamist governments in Arab Spring countries.

"This movie embarrasses the Islamic movements" which are ruling several Arab countries, posing challenges to their relations with the US administration, Tahtawi said.

Following the Libya attack, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi appeared in a televised speech to condemn the film and violent protests as well.

President Morsi said the Prophet is an "untouchable red line", but confirming "it is our duty to protect diplomatic missions."

"The freedom to express opinion and to protest is guaranteed, but without assaulting private or public properties, diplomatic missions or embassies," he added.

Analysts warned that the new attacks raises possibilities of the United States' intervention.

“The interference might be military, such as sending marine forces and battleships to Libyan coasts over the killing of four American employees in the US consulate," Tahtawi said.

The intervention could also include exercising pressures to stop the American aid, inciting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to halt its loans and crippling foreign investments due to security instability justifications.

Talaat Rameh, another Egyptian political analyst, agreed with Tahtawi as saying "The Arab-U.S. relations are moving towards deterioration."

Rameh quoted US President Barack Obama as saying that the United States now considers Egypt neither as an ally nor as the enemy, noting this as "very serious" in regard to Egyptian ties with the United States.

"Washington might change its policies towards the region, if protests against its interests wouldn't be controlled," Rameh added.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net



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