An anti-Islamic movie whose screening triggered protests and attacks on U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya that resulted in the death of an American, was an attempt to stoke sectarian tensions in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm said in a statement.
The Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood’s political wing, “strongly condemned” what it said was a movie produced by U.S.-based Coptic Christians, dubbing it a “racist crime and a failed attempt to provoke sectarian strife between the two elements of the nation, Muslims and Christians,” according to a statement posted on the party’s website.
The condemnation came hours after demonstrators attacked the U.S. consulate in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi, in an outburst of violence that left an American dead, according to the U.S.
In Egypt, around 2,000 mostly Islamist protesters converged on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, with some scaling its walls, tearing down the American flag and hoisting a black banner inscribed with the Muslim proclamation of faith: “There is no god but God and Mohamed is his prophet.”
Demonstrators in both countries said they were expressing anger at the production of a movie they said was made in the U.S., saying it vilifies Mohamed.
The Associated Press spoke by phone to film writer and director Sam Bacile, 56, who says he’s an Israeli who made the $5 million, two-hour movie, “Innocence of Muslims.” The Californian real estate developer told AP that he’s now in hiding.
The movie is a “blatant violation of religious sanctities, international norms and conventions on human rights which emphasize that freedom of expression with respect to religion must be restricted by controls within the law that safeguard public interest,” the Freedom and Justice party statement said.
The party “affirms that both elements of the Egyptian people - Christians and Muslims - have been and will always be united in the face of such despicable attempts that seek to foment conflict in this homeland.”