Salafis, Muslim Youth Protest anti-Muhammad Film at US Embassy

To mark September 11, Muslims in Egypt stormed the US Embassy.

Actually, it is not that simple. Certain Copts resident in America produced an amateur film purporting to expose the frails and falsities of Muhammad, and advertised its release for September 11. Word carried back to Egypt, of course, prompting protest from religious institutions, Muslim and Christian alike. Salafi Muslims in particular called for a protest at the US Embassy, and they were joined by hardcore soccer fans in denouncing the film as well as the US government for allowing it to be made. The US Embassy, for its part, issued an official condemnation, calling the effort an abuse of freedom of expression.

Several thousand Egyptians gathered at the entrance of the embassy, falling into roughly two categories. While it was clear all participated, bearded Salafi Muslims largely stood peacefully, while the soccer youth led vociferous, and playful, chants. It was the latter which scaled the walls of the embassy, pulled down the US flag, and burned it.

Later, they also draped a black Islamic flag over the signage of the embassy, above its entrance. These flags were in abundance and resemble the standard used by al-Qaeda. It is al-Qaeda, however, which appropriated the black flag from earlier in Islamic history, which was used in Muhammad’s campaigns. It bears the Islamic creed: There is no god but God, and Muhammad is his apostle. Its use at this rally does not imply the presence of al-Qaeda.

I did not witness the US flag being desecrated, but Egyptian security was present in abundance and permitted the action. I was told that the Islamic contingent of the protest calmed the youth and did not permit a more serious storming of embassy grounds, if this was even intended. Security seemed to rely on these Islamists to make certain things did not get out of hand.

The atmosphere was charged, but calm and peaceful. Even so, offensive chants were issued and questionable signs displayed. Foreign Copts were called ‘pigs’, and the Jews were warned about the soon return of Muhammad’s army. One sign declared, ‘We are all bin Laden, you (Coptic) dogs of the diaspora,’ another celebrated the heroes of September 11, asking God’s mercy upon them. Please click here for a brief video of the protest, and pictures follow below.

I would not say this demonstration was representative of Egyptian society; several thousand people are a small scale protest. Yet dangerous ideas are afloat and society is yet in an unstable transition. I felt somewhat uncomfortable in their midst and kept a low profile, yet spoke with some and suffered no ill reception. Afterwards I spoke at length with some Islamists there I know well, and hope to convey their thoughts in a separate post, perhaps tomorrow.

Such is Egypt these days, for better or for worse. May God bless them.

Black flag draped over US Embassy sign

Youth Leading Chants

Translation of graffiti: Muhammad is God’s Apostle

Protest banner

Some signs were in English for foreign understanding

Calling for Egyptian nationality to be revoked from foreign Copts

Some Copts were present in solidarity with offended Muslims

Translation: We are All bin Laden; continues underneath, You (Coptic) Dogs of the Diaspora

Translation: God have Mercy on the Heroes of September 11

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3 thoughts on “Salafis, Muslim Youth Protest anti-Muhammad Film at US Embassy

  1. Quote: “I would not say this demonstration was representative of Egyptian society”.

    I would, at least the Muslim component. The fact is that Islam has become a breeding ground of hate and violence and the so-called moderate Muslims are unable to lift a finger to stop it. All the good Muslims can do is make silly excuses and pretend these things we see have nothing to do with their faith. The fact is that they come directly from the pages of the Quran and hadith.

    The Copts are going to be massacred and the so-called moderate Muslims will still be making excuses.

    By the way, there is nothing “peaceful” about the signs and slogans at the demonstration..

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    • Whether or not moderate Muslims will be able to stop it is a fair question. But this does not mean the storming of an embassy is reflective of a society. You are mostly right, the signs and slogans are not peaceable, but they were hoisted peacefully. Is this legitimate? No, of course not. But the demonstration was not a riot, as it is somewhat being portrayed. As for the relation to the Quran and Hadith, fair enough. But there are equally opposite portions of these scriptures to oppose these viewpoints. I am not an apologist; but I recognize the key word in your statement: Islam has ‘become’… Sure, it can change and morph as can any religion or philosophy. Let us just not label it as one thing alone. Moderates may fail, but it is their game to define and determine, not ours.

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