Fresh protests erupt over film

MARAWI - Fresh protests are taking place around the Muslim world over an amateur anti-Islam video produced in the US.

At least one protester was killed in violent protests in Pakistan and thousands attended an angry rally in the Philippines city of Marawi.

Earlier, weapons were fired and police cars torched by protesters in the Afghan capital Kabul.

A large rally is taking place in Lebanon after Hezbollah's Sheikh Nassan Hasrallah called further protests.

A trailer for the obscure, poorly made film at the centre of the row, entitled Innocence of Muslims, came to light in recent weeks and protests first erupted in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, last Tuesday.

Currently on a reporting trip to Libya, Egypt and Lebanon, Jeremy will take questions on the current unrest caused by the amateur video produced in the US and insulting Islam and tension between Israel and Iran.

Jeremy will be answering questions directly via his Twitter account: https://twitter.com/bowenbbc between 17:00 BST and 18:00 BST (16:00 GMT and 17:00 GMT).

In Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the local press club was burnt down and government offices attacked in the Upper Dir district.

One protester was killed in an exchange of fire with police, following the death of another protester on Sunday.

A protest of thousands of students took place in the nearby city of Peshawar, reported AFP news agency.

In the biggest city, Karachi, police fired in the air to disperse a crowd heading for the US consulate, reported Reuters, and lawyers marched in Lahore.

A large protest is taking place in a Hezbollah stronghold in southern Beirut, Lebanon, called by Sheikh Nasrallah, leader of the influential Shia Muslim militant group.

Hezbollah's Al Manar TV station showed scenes of thousands of people chanting and waving flags.

The demonstrations called for by Hassan Nasrallah to denounce the Innocence of Muslims film are likely to be big, but not violent.

Hezbollah followers are disciplined, and he has told them to act legally. The demonstrations over the next week are being held in areas where Hezbollah has sway, and there are in any case no obvious US-related potential targets.

Nasrallah believes such protests - aimed primarily at the US - are necessary, but not enough to deter repetitions of such "insults to Islam", of which he says the film is by far the most serious ever.

He says the primary responsibility lies with the governments in the Arab and Islamic worlds to pressure for steps to ensure that Islam and the other revealed religions are respected and that "this door is closed for good".

On Sunday Sheikh Nasrallah had called for a week of protests - not only against American embassies, but also to press Muslim governments to express their own anger to the US.

The world needed to know Muslims "would not be silent in the face of this insult", which he called "unprecedented".

Sheikh Nasrallah said the film aimed to cause strife between Muslims and Christians and applauded many protests so far for their focus on the US and Israel - which he said stood to gain from Muslim-Christian conflict - and not Christians.

Arab and Islamic governments should press for an enforceable international law banning insults to Islam and other religions, Sheikh Nasrallah argued - like laws which already existed to prevent anti-Semitism.

In a BBC interview, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the film was "wrong and offensive but also laughable as a piece of filmmaking - what is dangerous and wrong is the reaction to it".

11 September: US embassy in Cairo, Egypt, attacked; flag torn down and replaced with an Islamist banner.

Mob attacks US consulate in Benghazi, Libya; US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans killed.

12 September: Anti-US protests take place in several Arab countries.

13 September: Protesters break into the US embassy compound in Sanaa, Yemen, amid clashes with security forces. More violence in Cairo.

14 September: At least seven people are killed in demonstrations as protests spread around the world.

15 September: Taliban militants attack Nato's heavily fortified Camp Bastion over the film, killing two US marines.

16 September: At least one person is killed in clashes between protesters and police in Pakistan. There are also protests in some European capitals.

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah calls for a week of protests in Lebanon.

17 September: Protests in countries including Afghanistan; Kabul's police chief injured by stone-throwing protesters.

Mr Blair, who now serves as a Middle East peace envoy, said the protests were ultimately about the "struggle of modernisation" under way in the region and not "some form of oppression by the West".

The exact origins of the film are shrouded in mystery, although US authorities say they believe the film was made by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a convicted fraudster living in California who has since been questioned over his role.

The eruption of anger has seen attacks on US consulates, embassies and business interests across the Middle East and north Africa. British, Swiss, German and Dutch properties have also been targeted.

The US ambassador to Libya was among four Americans killed on the day protests first broke out.

Libyan Interior Minister Fawzi Abdul Al has dismissed a claim on Sunday by the president of the national congress that 50 people have been arrested in connection with the deaths.

He said only four people had been detained so far, although up to 50 could be under investigation.

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