Latest developments on anti-Islam film protests
CAIRO (AP) — Here's a look at protests and reaction across the Middle East and elsewhere Sunday over an anti-Muslim film produced in the U.S. ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad.
Hundreds of Pakistanis broke through a barricade near the U.S. Consulate in the southern city of Karachi, sparking clashes with police. One demonstrator was killed and more than a dozen others were injured. All Americans who work at the consulate, located in central Karachi, were safe, a U.S. Embassy official said.
Thousands attended protests in other Pakistani cities, including Lahore and Dera Ismail Khan. Protesters in Lahore shouted anti-U.S. slogans and burned an American flag.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expects more turmoil in the coming days, but says the violence expected by Washington appears to be leveling off. He declined to provide more details on reports the military may be moving additional military forces so they can respond to unrest in any of a number of regions of concern.
In an interview on an American television station, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video — not a premeditated assault tied to the recent anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed in the attack, along with three other Americans.
Representatives of the Islamist bloc in Algeria's parliament denounced the film during a meeting with U.S. Ambassador Henry Ensher.
The group, the Alliance of Green Algeria, criticized the film for "exacerbating the clash of civilizations rather than blessing reconciliation and dialogue," according to a statement from one of the three parties that make up the bloc.
The lawmakers are asking the U.S. to sanction the filmmakers and to prevent the film's distribution.
In Iran, thousands of clerics gathered in their seminaries across the country to protest the film. Ahmad Khatami, an ally of the country's top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told a gathering in Qom that protests should continue to teach the U.S. and Israel that they are not capable of confronting Islam.
Also in Iran, a semi-official religious foundation in Iran has increased a reward it had offered for the killing of British author Salman Rushdie to $3.3 million from $2.8 million, a newspaper reported. The hardline Jomhoori Eslami daily and other newspapers reported the move appeared to be linked to protests over the film. The report said the 15 Khordad Foundation will pay the higher reward to whoever acts on a 1989 fatwa that called for the death of the author of "The Satanic Verses."
The Islamic Council of Niger has asked Muslims not to attack Christian churches to protest the recent film. Niger's religious leader proposed the creation of a confederation that would include representatives of all religions to foster "dialogue ... and peaceful coexistence between religions."
Niger President Issoufou Mahamadou sent a condolence message to President Barack Obama in which he called "cowardly" the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Issoufou said that "terrorism must be combated with the utmost vigor."
The Paris prosecutor's office opened an investigation over a protest around the U.S. Embassy that drew hundreds of people angry over the film. The prosecutor's office will look into how such a large demonstration was organized without the proper permits.