Don’t provoke Muslims, Vatican says

Agence France-Presse

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A film deemed offensive to Islam causes a deadly attack in Libya. Afghanistan bans YouTube to prevent residents from watching it.

An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012. AFP Photo

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican on Wednesday, September 12, condemned “provocations” against Muslims as well as the resulting “unacceptable violence” after a deadly attack on a US consulate in Libya over a film deemed offensive to Islam. The attack killed Washington’s ambassador to Libya.

“The serious consequences of unjustified offence and provocations against the sensibilities of Muslim believers are once again evident,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

“The reactions they arouse, sometimes with tragic results, which in their turn nourish tension and hatred, unleashing unacceptable violence,” he said.

“Profound respect for the beliefs, texts, outstanding figures and symbols of the various religions is an essential precondition for the peaceful coexistence of peoples,” he added.

In Kabul, the Afghanistan government has banned YouTube to prevent Afghans from watching the film.

The spokesman also referred to Pope Benedict XVI’s three-day visit to Lebanon staring on Friday saying the pontiff would bring a “message of dialogue and respect for all believers of different religions.”

This peaceful message indicates “the path that everyone should follow in order to construct shared and peaceful coexistence of religions and peoples.”

Killed in mob attack

Washington’s envoy to Libya and 3 other Americans were killed when a mob outraged over a movie mocking Islam stormed the US consulate in Benghazi, Libyan and US officials said on Wednesday.

President Barack Obama quickly ordered increased security at US diplomatic posts around the world, while slamming Tuesday’s deadly assault in Benghazi, an Islamist stronghold in eastern Libya, which coincided with the anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the United States.

“I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens,” Obama said, in a White House statement.

“I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe,” he added.

Stevens, a career officer with the US foreign service, had been in the country for less than four months after taking up his post in the capital Tripoli in May.

Witnesses said he was killed when angry Islamists late Tuesday attacked the consulate with rocket-propelled grenades before looting and torching the building.

A security source in Benghazi — cradle of the 2011 uprising that toppled the regime of late dictator Moamer Kadhafi — said it was suspected that the envoy may have suffocated due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

A picture taken by an AFP photographer shows what witnesses say is an injured Stevens being aided by Libyans inside the premises of the consulate.

Cairo, too

The Benghazi attack came just hours after Islamists had stormed the US embassy in Cairo in a similar protest against the amateur American-made Internet video.

Egyptian protesters tear down the US flag at the US embassy in Cairo on September 11, 2012 during a demonstration against a film deemed offensive to Islam. AFP PHOTO

Clips of the film at the centre of the controversy have been posted on the Internet and private satellite channels have been showing segments.

The low-budget movie, “Innocence of Muslims” in which actors have strong American accents, portrays Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent.

It pokes fun at the Prophet Mohammed and touches on themes of paedophilia and homosexuality, while showing him sleeping with women, talking about killing children and referring to a donkey as “the first Muslim animal.”

The film was produced by Israeli-American Sam Bacile, according to the Wall Street Journal, but Egyptian media say that some Egyptian Copts living in the US were involved in the production. – Agence France-Presse

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