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Kashmir protests anti-Islam film

Posted on Sep 14, 05:22PM | IBNS

Kashmir Valley witnessed protests on Friday against a 14-minute anti-Islamic video, 'Innocence of Muslims', directed by a person who was allegedly convicted in 2009 of bank fraud in the United States.

US and Israeli flags along with the effigies of US President Barack Obama were set on fire at dozens of places by Muslim protesters on Friday in Kashmir.

Cutting across party lines, almost all the separatist and religious organizations had appealed to the people to protest against the blasphemes video after Friday prayers across Kashmir.

However, ignoring the timing of protests, people at various places came out on roads and shouted anti-US and anti-Israeli slogans.

In centre-city, Lal Chowk, Saraibala, Maisuma, Gowkadal, Hyderpora, Nowhatta, Alamgari Bazar, Ram Bagh, Channapora, Batamaloo and in other districts and towns of Kashmir Valley, including Pulwama, Shopian, Anantnag, Tral, Baramulla, Sopore, Bandipora, Budgam, Handwara, Kupwara and Pampore, people took to streets castigating the inflammatory anti-Islamic video and the nation where it was produced, that is, the United States.

Anti-American and anti-Israeli marchs were taken out in almost all parts of the Valley especially in summer capital Srinagar.

Angry protesters in Nowhatta, Hyderpora and Gowkadal areas of Srinagar city carried Islamic banners, green and black flags. They chanted pro-Islamic and anti-American slogans.

"America is the enemy of the people," the demonstrators shouted.

They also yelled out, "Yes, yes to Islam. Yes, yes to Quran and there is no God but Allah and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is the last Massanger of Allah."

Some protesters burned American flags, while others put a U.S. flag on the ground and stepped on it to express their anger.

"Since (Americans) did not respect more than 1 billion Muslims all over the world, we should also teach Americans a lesson and tell them what we can do," an angry protestor told IBNS.

At Abi Guzar in Srinagar, there was a scuffle between protestors and the Jammu and Kashmir Police.

The police swung into action as soon Democratic Political Movement chief Firdous Ahmed Shah and his aides General Musa and Mohammad Imran tried to lead a march towards city centre Lal Chowk.

However, no one was injured during the scuffle.

At Saraibal in Srinagar, Karwan-i-Islami chief Maulan Ghulam Rasool Hami led a protest march and denounced the anti-Islamic policies of America.

"We are going to call a meeting of all religious leaders of Valley and will chalk out a programme on Saturday," Hami told IBNS.

A growing number of Muslims has demonstrated around the world in recent days over the obscure 14-minute film trailer that mocks Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Lawyers from Jammu and Kashmir High Court and Lower Court held a peaceful march in Srinagar.

The march was taken out from Lal Chowk to Regal Chowk and the lawyers present in march shouted anti-American Slogans and demanded stern action against the 'American based Jewish culprit'.

While talking to IBNS, Kashmir Bar Association president Advocate Zafar Quereshi said the association boycotted their work in courts on Friday as a protest against the 'offensive' video.

The biggest march was taken out from Central Kashmir's Budgam district in which people from hundreds of surrounding hamlets participated.

Protesters set the US flags on fire and called on Muslims from Arab Countries to get united.

In North Kashmir's Baramulla district, youths resorted to stone pelting shortly after Friday prayers that resulted in the injury of a police officer identified as SP Ajay Kumar.

Meanwhile, almost all the separatist leaders including the Hurryiat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaize Molvi Mohammad Omar Farooq, Yasin Malik, Agha Syed Hassan, Shabir Ahmed Shah and Nayeem Khan were put under house arrest.

During the intervening night of Thursday and Friday, People's Political Party (PPP) chairman Engineer Hilal Ahmed War was arrested while his brother was apprehended in Maisuma locality shortly before Friday prayers when he along with his followers was trying to take out a march.

The police also arrested Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (R) chairman Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karatey and Kashmiri separatist leader Javed Ahmed Mir.

Castigating the Jammu and Kashmir Police for keeping him under check at his residence, Democratic Freedom Party chairman Shabir Ahmed Shah told IBNS: "Such tactics can't stop us from showering our deepest anger against anti-Islamic elements."

"No Muslim can bear what is being told against our beloved Prophet (PBUH). We are not going to tolerate this and we have right to protest but the Jammu and Kashmir Police on the behest of Government of India is snatching this right from us," Shah said.

Security was beefed up in all parts of the Valley.

Large contingents of Jammu and Kashmir Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were deployed in sensitive parts of Kashmir especially in downtown Srinagar.

A top police officer told IBNS that no untoward incident was reported from any part of the Valley.

"There were protests against anti-Islamic video which passed off peacefully," he said.

Meanwhile, situation went out of control in the frontier district of Kupwara, when in Putushahi, Lolab, an Army officer allegedly compelled the students from Government Middle School to watch the anti-Islamic video.

According to reports, an Army officer from 28 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), allegedly appeared in Government Middle School Putushahi with a cassette and forced students to watch the controversial video.

"One Master Maqbool when objected was beaten to pulp by the Army. As word spread, people came on roads and pelted stones on the Army," an eye witness told IBNS.

Youths resorted to stone pelting and the police used tear gas shells to disperse the agitated protesters.

The people who were injured during the clashes which have been identified as Danish Hamid, Yasmeena and Irshad Ahmed.

To bring situation under control, District Magistrate, Kupwara, Sarmad Hafeez along with police officers, reached on spot and seized the video cassette from the Army.

"The police have seized the cassette and it is a matter of investigation. I have talked to students and also to people, and the police have filed an FIR. Whosoever will be involved in this mischief will be brought to book," DC Kupwara told IBNS.

Despite repeated attempts, the Srinagar based Defence spokesman could not be contacted. He didn't bother to pick up the phone.

Meanwhile, the youth in Kashmir are showering their anger against America and the producers of this video on social websites including Twitter and Facebook. They are demanding an unconditional apology from the producers and a blanket ban of this video on YouTube.

One of the Muslim users, Rana Qadri, while commenting on this blasphemous video in a message to Americans wrote, "You guys are so sad! I don't condone what they did to the embassy but seriously if someone just decided to post a video disgracing your religion how would you feel? You people and the idiots who made this video will get what's coming to you. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but to make a video like this.....that's just cruel and sad. You have so much time on your hands and you are so bored with your lives that you have to go and disgrace other people??? Seriously get life idiots."

Pertinently, the anti-Islamic video which was posted in July on YouTube, but got more notice recently after Egyptian television aired segments and anti-Islam activists promoted it online, mocks Prophet Mohammad.

The filmmaker was identified in a July 2011 casting call as Sam Bassiel and on the call sheet as Sam Bassil; the name was reported at first by news outlets as Sam Bacile.

While the film was made in the United States, its origin is unclear.

It was not sanctioned by the U.S. government.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called the film "disgusting and reprehensible," saying its aim appears to be "to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage."

According to a FBI/Homeland Security joint statement, the film's producer identified himself to news media as an Israeli -- an assertion Israel's government denies -- and falsely claimed the movie was financed with help from more than 100 Jewish donors.

While he'd been identified in July 2011 by various names, including Sam Bassiel, federal officials now say they believe the filmmaker's name is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

He was convicted in 2009 of bank fraud, with the indictment from the U.S. Attorney's Office listing seven aliases.

A production staffer on the movie had said he believed the filmmaker was a Coptic Christian who also went by the name Abenob Nakoula Bassely.

He said the filmmaker was a Coptic Christian who had gone to Alexandria, Egypt, where the Coptic Church is based, to raise money for the film.

Far from standing behind the film, the Coptic Church has issued a statement calling it "abusive" and part of a "malicious campaign to divide people."

Muslims find any depiction of Prophet to be offensive.

A Danish newspaper's publication in 2005 of Mohammad caricatures triggered riots.

Meanwhile, the actors of the movie are claiming that they did not know what the theme of the movie was and were totally ignorant that it's central character was Mohammad.