French immams appeal for calm as foreign embassies attacked across Arab world
Muslim leaders in France have used Friday prayers to ask their followers to refrain from replicating the violent protests against an anti-Islam video that have spread across the Arab world.
“A lot of people have spoken to the imams, who have called for vigilance,” Abdullah Zekri, the president of the Observatory against Islamophobia, told the news agency AFP.
“They [the imams] said: ‘Yes, there are attacks against our religion. But those who did it are fanatics who want to stir up trouble. Be careful not to fall into the trap,” he adds.
In the latest developments, protesters stormed and set fire to the German and British embassies in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, just before moving on to the US embassy on the outskirts of the city.
Protesters have also climbed the walls of the US embassy in Tunis, Tunisia.
In Lebanon, protesters set fire to an outlet of the American fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Since Tuesday, there have been violent protests outside US missions in other parts of the region, including Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Iran, Iraq and Jordan.
The protests were sparked by a low-budget video posted on Youtube that Muslims regard as being blasphemous.
A man claiming to be an American-Jew initially claimed he made the film, but there are now questions about the origins and motivations of the movie.
The US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed in the first attack on the US embassy in Libya on Tuesday night.
Security analysts are now questioning whether that attack was planned, perhaps by Al-Qaeda, rather than a spontaneous reaction to the movie.