Hizbut Tahrir holds protest at US Embassy in Jakarta
Indonesian Muslims shout slogans as they hold a banner which reads "Prophet Muhammad is symbol of Islam" during a protest against an anti-Islam film that has sparked anger among followers, outside the US Embassy in Jakarta on Friday, Sept. The low-budget film "Innocence of Muslims" ridicules Islam and depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman. Since it emerged on the Internet, it has prompted violent protests at US embassies in the Middle East. In Libya, the American ambassador and three other staff members were killed when the US consulate in Benghazi was attacked. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)Around 500 members of firebrand group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) staged a rally in front of the US Embassy in Jakarta on Friday, protesting an anti-Islam movie that has sparked violent protests across the Middle East.
"The movie clearly dishonors the Prophet. Did the Prophet do something bad to them?” said the organization’s spokesperson Ismail Yusanto, as quoted by kompas.com.
Ismail referred to US-made movie Innocence of Muslims that depicts Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman.
Hizbut Tahrir called upon the Indonesian government to stop the circulation of the 14-minute video and demanded the US government sanction the moviemaker, Sam Bacile.
“Anyone who offends the Prophet, whether he is Muslim or not, should be punished,” he added.
The Central Jakarta Police had deployed 350 personnel to guard the rally, said the police’s chief of operations Adj. Sr. Comr. Irsan.
Earlier in the day, the National Police said they had increased security at the US diplomatic post, by putting 250 riot police on alert, The Associated Press reported.
The embassy has also issued an email to American citizens, advising them to “avoid large crowds and other gatherings that might turn violent.”
HTI’s protest came after Tuesday’s assaults in Egypt and Libya that killed US Ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens and three other US Department of State employees. (yps/swd)