US shutters embassies fearing more protests
It's Friday and in the Islamic world that means getting dressed up in your best go-to-mosque clothes and following the service, going into the street to scream incoherently against...whatever the cleric has told you to scream against.
Today across much of the Muslim world, it will once again be the Mohammed video. And this has caused our State Department to close several embassies, fearing a repeat of last week's drama.
Several diplomatic facilities were shuttered Friday as many braced for intensified protests over the anti-Islam movie "Innocence of Muslims," as well as recently published cartoons in a French publication of a figure resembling the Prophet Mohammed.
Demonstrations have raged for days as many in the Muslim world are angry about the U.S.-made film that mocks Mohammed and about the French cartoon. And some believe that Friday prayers, a time of protest recently in the Middle East and North Africa, could add fuel to the fire.
Demonstrations started early Friday in Pakistan. Developments include:
Protesters against the film and the cartoon in Peshawar, Pakistan, set fire to two movie theaters Friday morning, killing one person and injuring dozens, officials said.
Firefighters extinguished one blaze in about 90 minutes but were not able to get to the other fire, said Nadir Shah, a fire brigade official.
"We were informed by the police that the two cinemas had been set ablaze by rioters, and so we responded immediately," Shah said.
At least 25 people were injured, three of them critically, said Majid Qureshi, a doctor at a local hospital. A member of the media was also shot in killed in the protest, Qureshi said.
Peshawar police said four policemen were also injured.
Crowds of protesters were reported in Islamabad, and CNN affiliate Geo TV reported protests in Rawalpindi and Karachi.
The protests come a day after about 100 small children in Karachi repeated anti-American slogans during a protest in the coastal Pakistani city, a police official said.
Video showed children repeating an adult voice that said "Death to America" and "Any friend of America is a traitor."
Also, the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya, U.S. Consular Agency in Bali and two other facilities will be closed Friday because of the "potential for significant demonstrations that might be held in front of these facilities." according to a statement.
Eventually, the children chanting "Death to America" will go home and the outraged Muslims will find something else to be outraged about.
If they got half as outraged about their lack of health care, job opportunities, and representative government, they might have a chance to live better lives. But it's so much more fun trashing the US anyway so that other stuff can wait.