Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Mysterious film prompts deadly anti-American protests abroad

Anti-American sentiment

An amateur YouTube video, which depicts the Prophet Mohammed as an adulterer and a thief, has ignited the Muslim world, leading to violent anti-American protests and riots from Benghazi to Jakarta.

Protests began in Cairo, Egypt and Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, after a man, known as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, uploadeda 14-minute trailer of a film, The Innocence of Muslims,to YouTube. While the purpose and origin of the video remain shrouded in mystery, itwas dubbed into Arabic and shown to crowds on local television, leading to riots and breaches of embassy security in Cairo.

In Benghazi, the American Ambassador to Libya was killed, along with a State Department computer specialist and two security officers. This comes less than a year after the death of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi, who was killed in a civil war by rebels supported by NATO forces, including Americans.

Following these attacks, protests and violence spread around the Muslim world. On Sept. 14, protesters attacked an American school in Tunis, Tunisia after setting fires around the American embassy.

Protesters were killed by local security forces in Khartoum, Sudan after they attempted to storm the American and German embassies. In Sana’a, Yemen the embassy was breached, and guards had to fire warning shots to protect American personnel.

Protests then spread to Europe when the consulate in Berlin, Germany was temporarily evacuated after a suspicious package was received.

During the weekend, protests spread to Bahrain, Jordan, Kenya, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Pakistan, Malaysia, Nigeria and Qatar. In Afghanistan, the Afghan National Police kept the peace at several protests around NATO military installations. In Indonesia, however, police had to resort to tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds. In Pakistan, violence erupted at the consulates in Lahore and Karachi as police clashed with protestors, leaving dozens injured.

In Beirut, Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the terrorist group Hezbollah, denounced the United States and asked for increased protests, saying that those responsible for the film should be “punished,” according to the New York Times.

Considering that many of the countries being affected by this unrest went through the so-called Arab Spring in the last year, many now fear that the waves of change are evolving into anti-American sentiment.

However, University of Texas at San Antonio Department Chair of Political Science and Geography, Dr. Mansour El Khikia, remarked “What we saw…was a result of the success, not of the failure. These [extremist] groups do not want to see [these countries] succeed along these lines; they constantly have to torpedo success one way or another.”

Nevertheless, the attacks have fueled both presidential campaigns, which are using the violence as political ammunition. The Mitt Romney presidential campaigncited a statement by the Cairo embassy before the attacks as asign ofweakness on the part of President Obama’s Administration.However, the Obama campaign has criticized the Republicans for twisting the attacks into a political issue. With less than two months until the presidential election, this unrest is now a major issue in the race for the White House.­­

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