Though the brutal murders of four U.S. officials in Libya may have had nothing to do with the film (White House officials and some analysts say the attack may have been planned in advance), the reaction in Muslim nations to the release of an anti-Islam movie by a Israeli-American filmmaker Sam Bacile is only intensifying. From banning YouTube in Afghanistan to nationwide protests in Egypt, the outrage cycle is far from over. The movie Muslim Innocence may be a low-budget project "barely at the level of a high school play," as one pundit put it, but its depiction of an effete homosexual Muhammad has touched a serious nerve and social networks in the Middle East and Northern Africa are humming with calls for further demonstrations. Here's a glimpse of the impact this story has had around the world:
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Afghanistan. For the first time ever, the Afghan government banned YouTube from the entire country in an attempt to prevent citizens from watching the movie. “Following instructions by the ministry of information and culture, the ministry of communication has ordered all service providers to block YouTube access,” a communications ministry official told AFP. The ban will persist "until YouTube removes this abusive film," the official said. An internet user in Kabul confirmed with AFP that the video site was indeed down, despite the fact that YouTube seems to have removed all results fro the Prophet Muhammad. “It seems YouTube has removed all searches for Prophet Mohammed," the official added. "We may lift the ban soon if it is confirmed that YouTube has banned access to this trailer." CBS reports that Afghan President Hamid Karzai attempted to preempt any violence saying the film was only the product of a "small radical minority" in the U.S. This is why we Afghanistan can't have nice things, apparently.
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Egypt. In a separate report carried by Al Arabiya, AFP reports that Egypt's ruling Muslim Brotherhood party has called for nationwide protests on Friday. The Islamist party calls "for peaceful protests on Friday outside all the main mosques in all of Egypt’s provinces to denounce offences to religion and to the Prophet,” the Muslim Brotherhood’s Secretary General Mahmud Hussein said. He called on "national forces to join the protests." The AP notes that protesters have begun donning Guy Fawkes masks in Egypt (see above photo).
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Gaza CBS News reports that "dozens" of Palestinians burned American flags while chanting "death to America" in the Gaza Strip today. "The protest Wednesday in Gaza City was sponsored by supporters of the Popular Resistance Committees, a militant group aligned with the ruling Hamas movement," reports correspondent Margaret Brennan. "In Gaza City, some protesters carried swords, axes and black flags. They also used knives to cut posters of Morris Sadek, the Egyptian-born Christian who has promoted the film, which was produced by an American-Israeli and also promoted by American pastor Terry Jones." The protesters chanted "Shame on everyone who insults the prophet."
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Algeria and Tunisia The AP reports that the U.S. Embassies in Tunisia and Algeria warned Americans against gathering in crowded places. "The Algiers embassy said unspecified groups were using online social networks to organize demonstrations 'to protest a range of issues' there Wednesday," reads the report. "The statement out of Tunis cited 'media reports' indicating protests were planned, but said the embassy remained open."
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