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Saudi Arabia Threatens to Block YouTube Over Mohammed Film

Saudi Arabia threatens to block YouTube in the kingdom if Google does not respond to a request to deny access to an anti-Islam film.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/19/2012, 5:55 AM

YouTube
YouTube
AFP/Getty Images/File

Saudi Arabia has threatened to block YouTube in the kingdom if Google does not respond to a request to deny access to an anti-Islam film produced in the United States, the official SPA news agency reported Tuesday.

"Saudi Arabia's Communications and Information Technology Commission has ordered host companies in the kingdom to block this movie from Internet users and has also requested Google to block all YouTube links carrying the film," SPA reported, according to AFP.

"If this request is not met, the commission will block YouTube altogether," SPA said, also quoting the Saudi telecoms as urging citizens to report any links through which the film can be viewed.

The low-budget film "Innocence of Muslims" incited a wave of bloody anti-American violence in cities across the Muslim world which targeted symbols of U.S. influence ranging from embassies and schools to fast food chains.

At least 30 people have died so far in unrest connected to the film in over 20 countries, AFP reported, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans in an attack last week on the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest religious sites, on Thursday condemned the American film but also denounced the deadly attacks in reaction to it.

Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh have blocked access to YouTube after the video-sharing website failed to take down the initially obscure film.

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen have ordered blocking access to all websites carrying the video.

Google has denied access to the videos in Malaysia, Indonesia, Libya, Egypt and India.

Earlier this week, the Jordanian government asked YouTube to remove what it called film clips “published recently insulting Prophet Mohammed and hurting the feelings of Arabs and Muslims worldwide.”