News - Afghanistan
Hundreds of university students in the main towns of Kabul and Herat peacefully demonstrated on Sunday against a film produced in the US and deemed offensive to Islam saying the US would only create more enemies by allowing such material.
"Anyone else who watches this film will not react in an academic way -- they would react strongly against the film which will harm the US the most," a protestor from Kabul University told TOLOnews, adding that such productions make the Muslim nations declare Jihad against the US.
The protest began around 7:30AM at Kabul University. At least 300 students marched towards a nearby mosque where the demonstration peacefully ended around lunchtime, according to officials.
Herat University students also protested, saying that the producers of a film insulting to Islam should be harshly punished. They told TOLOnews that Muslims cannot tolerate any kind of abuse to their religion and that insulting the Prophet Mohammad was a huge insult to all Muslims. They called for such actions to be prevented in the future.
Herat security officials praised the protesters for their enthusiasm and called for them to remain calm.
"I praise your participation in this protest. I will convey your message to the governor and the leaders of the country," Herat Police Chief Abdul Ghafar Sayedzada told the protesters.
Religious scholars also condemned the release of the film but urged the people to stay calm and be patient.
A mullah attending Kabul University's demonstration said that Muslims should not react badly towards such incidents, and thereby make non-Muslims and the producers of such things ashamed.
"Our prophet says that you should do good things to those who do bad things to you," Karimullah Saqeb said. "Use the behavior that makes them feel ashamed of their actions."
The amateur film "Innocence of Muslims" sparked violent demonstrations in Islamic countries last week. The filmmaker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, lives in the US state of California and has reportedly left his home in fear of reprisals.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the film last week Wednesday in an emailed statement to media and the following day postponed a diplomatic trip to Norway in expectation of riots. The Afghan government ordered internet providers to block YouTube, and many have complied, some even blocking Google, Gmail, and certain search terms.
YouTube has refused to remove the 14-minute clip of the film from its website saying that it did not breach the site's regulations.