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Fatah, Hamas condemn film that sparked riots
Published Thursday 13/09/2012 (updated) 14/09/2012 15:07
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RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Fatah and Hamas on Thursday condemned a film about the Prophet Mohammad that has triggered anti-American protests in Muslim countries.

The film, apparently produced in the United States, sparked an attack on a US mission in Libya on Tuesday that killed the ambassador and three other Americans. Clips posted on the Internet show an amateurish production portraying the Prophet Mohammad as a womanizer, a homosexual and a child abuser.

Fatah called on the international community to adopt international laws to ban insulting prophets and ensure respect for religion.

The controversial film insulted Prophet Mohammad as well as the Islamic and Arab world, and had nothing to do with freedom of expression, Fatah spokesman Fayez Abu Aita said.

Abu Aita applauded Christian condemnation of the film.

Jerusalem archbishop Atallah Hanna accused "those who attack Muslims" of seeking to stir up sectarian strife" in a statement Thursday.

Greek Orthodox father Issa Misleh said the film reflected racism and hatred of Muslims and said the filmmaker had hurt the feelings of over a billion people. He called on all followers of monotheistic religions to "stand against" the crime.

In Gaza, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called on Washington to apologize to Muslims for the film. He said the film could spark a revolution in the Arab and Islamic world.

Hamas called on the US government to punish the film's directors.

"We strongly condemn the directing and showing of the film which insults the prophet of Islam Muhammad, and we consider it an attack on our holy site and symbols and a violation of our religion," Hamas said in a statement.

'Free expression enshrined in US law'

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday that the US government had nothing to do with the film.

"The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message," Clinton said at the start of talks with senior Moroccan officials in Washington.

"To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage."

For many Muslims, any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous. Caricatures or other characterizations deemed insulting in the past have provoked protests and drawn condemnations from officials, preachers, ordinary Muslims and many Christians in the Middle East.

While distancing the US government from the film, Clinton noted the history of religious tolerance in the United States and its commitment to freedom of speech and said there was no justification for people to respond with violence.

"I know it is hard for some people to understand why the United States cannot or does not just prevent these kinds of reprehensible videos from ever seeing the light of day," she said. "I would note that in today's world, with today's technologies, that is virtually impossible.

"But even if it were possible our country does have a long tradition of free expression which is enshrined in our constitution and our law. And we do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views no matter how distasteful they may be," she added.

"There are of course different views around the world about the outer limits of free speech and free expression. But there should be no debate about the simple proposition that violence in response to speech is not acceptable," Clinton said.

Reuters contributed to this report
1 ) Amira / Canada
14/09/2012 00:14
"But even if it were possible our country does have a long tradition of free expression which is enshrined in our constitution and our law. And we do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views no matter how distasteful they may be," she added.
If true, can a movie be made in the America and Europe, about Land theft and Chosen people's God? Or just a media line on Israeli crimes. Let's see the reaction: Free speech or hate crime?

2 ) southparkbear / usa
14/09/2012 03:19
psst, here we are all talking how this was premeditate military-terrorist attack

3 ) Tobias / USA
14/09/2012 04:02
The film that sparked the Muslim riots and murders was distasteful, but still nothing more than an expression of FREEDOM OF SPEACH, which is a right that is protected by the US Constitution, and A BETTER WAY for the Muslim world to address the film, would be to MAKE A FILM OF THEIR OWN, showing Islam favorably to the world.

4 ) Jane / PA
14/09/2012 09:00
This accident gives a perfect opportunity to Al Fatah and Hamas leaders to avoid to talk about really problems those Palestinians have: high prises, corruption, lack of reconciliation, Oslo agreement..... Corrupt people insult Prophet also.

5 ) Jane / PA
14/09/2012 10:16
The move was produced by an Jewish extremist who wanted that the other extremist react in a violent way. He showed film in his city in USA and only five people came to see it. Nobody was interested in that because it was rubbish.. After that he put his film on YouTube and he found the extreme people on the other side who reacted. The rest is known. Check what Islamist write about Christian and Jews on there websites. Nobody care about that because they are stupid people like this artist.

6 ) Jane / PA
14/09/2012 10:17
Freedom of expression is important. Without that we could not say nothing about politicians and power people. They will be injaild us like some bloggers were injaild in the West Bank because Al Mughni ( the former attorney general) said that they criticized the president Abbas and according to him it is not allowed. Without freedom of expression we will get a lot of people who think that they are "Prophet" also and nobody has right to say somthing about them that they do not like.

7 ) gabi / australia
15/09/2012 03:32
Tobias - what about all those who have made films about the Occupation - which gave been banned and the films not shown. And banning of the Palestinian children's art show from Gaza. So much for freedom of speech. Jane - the real problem Hamas and Fatah has is the Occupation. And when Hamas and Fatah do talk reconciliation it is always knocked on the head by the US and Israel. Perhaps Muslims should get their own anti-defamation league - that would silence critics, as it does for Israel.
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