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Lebanon News

Sidon residents slam anti-Islam film, call for producers’ deaths

Protesters use their shoes to strike an effigy of U.S. President Barack Obama during a protest about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh near Sidon, Lebanon, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

SIDON, Lebanon: The southern city of Sidon witnessed several protests following Friday prayers over an anti-Islam film.

In the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp, thousands of Palestinian Islamists rallied in protest against the U.S.-made film, shouting slogans against the United States and President Barack Obama.

“Listen, listen Obama, we are all Osama,” shouted the protesters, in reference to Osama bin Laden.

They waved flags bearing Islamic slogans and burned an effigy of the U.S. president.

The protesters held the U.S. responsible for allowing the film and called for attacking American embassies around the world.

A spokesperson of a fundamentalist Islamist group based in the camp said all the persons involved in the making of the film should face death.

“Whoever participated in the making of this film must face death. We call on all mujahideen to execute this judgment,” said Abu al-Sharif Akl of Usbat al-Ansar.

Supporters of Sheikh Ahmad Assir also held a protest in the Sidon suburb of Abra. Assir condemned the film and accused “Zionists” of being behind it.

“Whoever is behind this offensive act against Muslims does not represent Christians. This film was made by Zionists with the aim of sowing strife between Muslims and Christians,” he said.

“You will not achieve your goal as we will continue to peacefully coexist with Christians,” he added.

Assir praised President Michel Sleiman and Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai for condemning the film and calling for it to be withdrawn.

Assir called on Muslims to practice self-restraint and not to give in to anger.

“We do not want our emotions to take us to the wrong place, thus committing acts that harm the image of Islam and serve the agenda of our enemies,” he said.

In Haret Sayda, supporters of Hezbollah held a protest following Friday prayers, shouting slogans like: “Death to America,” and calling for boycotting U.S. goods. The protesters burned Israeli and American flags.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 15, 2012, on page 2.

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