- Middle East/North Africa
Reactions to a film deemed offensive to the Prophet Mohamed by Egyptian political groups, which were prompted by a protest that stormed the American embassy on Tuesday, varied from condemnations to legal action, as well as a call by the Muslim Brotherhood call for mass Friday protests.
The secretary general of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mahmoud Hussein, called for protests on behalf of the group in a statement posted on its website. The statement said the protests were “to denounce offending religious beliefs, and the abuse to the Messenger of Allah.”
The demonstration is set to start after Friday prayers at noon, in front of the main mosques in all the governorates of Egypt. Hussein called on all the national forces to participate in these protests.
President Mohamed Morsy mandated the Egyptian Embassy in the United States to take all possible legal action against the producers of the American movie deemed blasphemous.
Presidential spokesperson Yasser Ali said, in a statement he read before reporters, that the presidency denounces any attempt to insult the Prophet Mohamed, and condemns those who produced this extremist movie.
Ali stressed Egypt’s respect and protection for peaceful demonstration whenever it abides by law. He added that the Egyptian state is committed to its responsibility to protect different diplomatic missions and embassies.
Prime Minister Hesham Qandil’s Cabinet demanded that the American administration take a firm stand against the film’s producers in the framework of international conventions which criminalize acts that would stir up sedition on the basis of race, color or religion.
In a press statement, the Cabinet stated that the film is “an ultimate moral crime and an act against all human values and norms in respect for religions and beliefs of others.”
The Shura Council Wednesday condemned the film, stressing that all international conventions condemn and criminalize this act, since it is an act of defamation of religion.
The council stressed the need to investigate this film, which it says offended a large segment of the world’s Muslims.
The Democratic Front Party called on President Mohamed Morsy to postpone his visit to America, scheduled for later this month, in protest of the film.
In a statement released Wednesday, the party said that Egyptians shall not stand idly toward any abuse of Prophet Mohamed and all the prophets of God.
The leftist Tagammu Party said in a statement that the makers of this film “dedicate their services to the Zionist movement and the American administration, with their continuing attempts to ignite the fire of sedition between Egyptian Muslims and Christians.”
The statement praised the initiative of the Egyptian Coptic Church to condemn the film and the initiative several associations of expatriate Copts have taken to denounce the film and repudiate its makers.
According to several major news organizations, the film was privately produced by an Israeli-American filmmaker living in California, but US news reports had indicated that Morris Sadek, an Egyptian Copt living in the United States, contributed to the promotion of the film via his website.
Meanwhile, Public Prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud put several expatriate Copts on the arrivals watchlist and ordered the State Security Prosecution to investigate reports accusing them of blasphemy.
Assistant Public Prosecutor and spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Adel al-Saeed said he received five reports regarding the posting of the video on Facebook and YouTube. Saeed alleged that some Egyptian Copts who reside in the US took part in producing the film and publishing it on Facebook.
Al-Sayed Hamed and Nahed al-Asqalany, both members of the Freedoms Committee of the Lawyers Syndicate, filed a report with the public prosecutor on Wednesday accusing American Pastor Terry Jones as well as a group of Copts abroad of high treason and of seeking to divide Egyptians by producing and publishing the movie in question.
They called for those proven to have participated in making the film to be stripped of their Egyptian citizenship.