Egypt's top Muslim cleric on Saturday called for an international ban on all forms of attacks against Islam, after a controversial film allegedly triggered the recent wave of violent protests that have erupted in the Middle East and North Africa.
Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, grand imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar, the highest seat of Sunni Muslim learning, stressed "the need for an international resolution (banning) any attack on Muslim religious symbols," in a statement addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and published by official MENA news agency.
The resolution should "criminalize attacks on Islamic symbols and on those of other religions, after the violence against those who provoked challenges to world peace and international security," Tayyeb said.
An amateur film produced in the United States, titled "Innocence of Muslims," has been accused of inciting a wave of bloody anti-American violence in Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and several other countries. While the Muslim world has been blaming the recent protests on the provocative film, it is likely a convenient ploy and timely excuse to renew the violent attacks.
The imam added that it was the UN's responsibility to "protect world peace from any threat or aggression," so that "these dangerous events cannot recur."
He called on "Egyptians in these trying times (to show) wisdom and restraint."
Thousands of people across the Islamic world on Friday staged anti-American protests against the film, which portrays Muslims and the Prophet Mohammed in a negative light.