An Islamic scholar has called for Muslims to "ignore material" offensive or insulting to Islam, in the wake of protests in Cairo, Benghazi and Yemen against a film posted on YouTube.
Thousands of Yemenis stormed the US Embassy on Thursday
Blogging for the Huffington Post UK, Dr Usama Hasan, a senior research fellow at the Quilliam Foundation, said: "Instead of ignoring material insulting and offensive to Islam, or forgiving their authors as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would have done, some immature Muslims resort to violence that ends up killing people who had done more than most to actually help Muslims or Muslim-majority countries."
His comments come as demonstrations against The Innocence Of Muslims, an amateur film that depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a homosexual, spilled into Yemen, Gaza, Tunisia and Tehran, and a day after the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, was killed in an attack in Benghazi.
On Thursday thousands of Yemeni protesters, chanting "death to America" stormed the embassy in the capital Sana'a, while further clashes broke out in Cairo, injuring more than a dozen people.
The Muslim Council has also issued a call to stop the violence, but described the film as "disgraceful".
"The violence we saw is not in keeping with the teachings of the Prophet, whose honour these people wish to defend. Those who carried out these attacks are in a minority and do not speak for Muslims, or our faith.
"The death of the US ambassador to Libya is a deep tragedy, particularly as the country is taking its first steps towards democratic transition following the overthrow of dictatorship last year.
"Whilst this in no way justifies these attacks, the film-maker responsible for this defamatory video mocking Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, should be ashamed of his actions.
"That Pastor Terry Jones, the so-called Quran burner, in Florida should also be promoting this film is deeply worrying."
"We urge that such vile actions of a few on both sides must not be allowed to create divisions. Understanding, mutual respect and peaceful dialogue must prevail.
"We hope that others will join us in condemning both the violence in Egypt and Libya, and the irresponsible actions of the film's Israeli-American producer."
The filmmaker 'Sam Bacile' described himself as an "Israeli-Jew" to the press, but those working on the film have stressed he was not Israeli, describing him as a Coptic Christian.
Highlighting a succession of protests, from those sparked by Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses in the 1980s to the more recent violence over the Danish cartoons and Wednesday’s killing, Hasan argues that the violence "must stop", and urges Muslims to embrace the "patience, forgiveness and forbearance, as exhorted by numerous verses of the Qur'anic revelation."
He adds: "We must surely look forward to, and work towards, the day when the image of Islam is represented by merciful young men and women rather than angry young men, and when believers hold placards at demonstrations saying 'Forgive those who insult Islam'."
READ Dr Hasan's Blog Here and share your views in the comments section below.
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