Nasrallah Calls for Protests Over Mohammed Film
Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday called for a week of angry protests across Lebanon over the U.S.-produced film mocking Islam that triggered uproar in the Muslim world.
The low-budget movie, entitled "Innocence of Muslims", has sparked fury across the Islamic world for mocking the prophet Mohammed and for portraying Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent.
"The whole world needs to see your anger on your faces, in your fists and your shouts," AFP quoted Nasrallah as having said in a televised speech.
Nasrallah spoke just hours after Pope Benedict XVI left Lebanon, following a historic three-day visit in which he prayed that Middle East leaders would work towards peace and reconciliation.
Nasrallah noted that he purposely postponed his call for protests until after the pope's departure.
"The whole world should know that the Prophet has followers who will not be silent in the face of humiliation," said Nasrallah.
Nasrallah called for protests in southern Beirut on Monday, in the southern city of Tyre on Wednesday, in the eastern city of Baalbek on Friday, in Bint Jbeil in south Lebanon on Saturday, and in Hermel in the eastern Bekaa valley region on Sunday. All are majority Shiite areas.
He also called for people across the Islamic world to demonstrate against the film, which he described as "the worst attack ever on Islam, worse than the Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, the burning of the Koran in Afghanistan and the cartoons in the European media."
"There should be resolutions adopted in top international institutions, that are binding on all states and governments in the world, to forbid the defamation of religions," AFP quoted Nasrallah as having said. He added that attacks on Muslims were "frequent".
"Those who write or draw or make such a film would know that they would be punished wherever they are, and they would not feel protected," he said.
He also blamed the United States for the film. "The film was made and spread from the U.S. Muslims should say to the U.S.: 'This happened in your state.'"
In his speech, Nasrallah said Lebanon should call for an emergency meeting of the Arab League to discuss the anti-Islam film. Shortly after his address ended, Lebanon's foreign ministry said in a statement that Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour had requested such a meeting of the 22-member bloc.
The speech by the head of the terror group came several days after the United States imposed new sanctions on Nasrallah and two other Hizbullah members over their support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The U.S. Treasury move adds to measures already levied on Hezbollah, which was first designated by Washington as a terrorist group in 2001.
The Treasury’s sanctions bar Americans from doing business with these three Hizbullah members and freeze any assets they might have in the U.S.
Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague recently urged the European Union to place the military branch of Hizbullah on its list of terrorist organizations.
“I would like to see the EU designate and sanction the military wing of Hizbullah,” Hague said in response to a question on arriving for talks with his EU counterparts.
Britain is one of few countries to have blacklisted either parts or all of Hizbullah. Israel has been pressing hard for the entire organization to be blacklisted since July’s terror attack against Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria.
Following the attack, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman asked European governments to place Hizbullah on their lists of terror organizations.
The EU, however, rejected Israel's request on the grounds that “there is no consensus on the issue, because Hizbullah also has an active political arm.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Rosh Hashanah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)