September 14, 2012 - 17:26 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Thousands of angry Kashmiri Muslims protested Friday, Sept 14, against an anti-Islam film, burning U.S. flags and calling President Obama a "terrorist," while the top government cleric here reportedly demanded Americans leave the volatile Indian-controlled region immediately, AP reports.
At least 15,000 people took part in more than two dozen protests across Kashmir, chanting "Down with America" and "Down with Israel" in some of the largest anti-American demonstrations against the film in Asia.
The low-budget film Innocence of Muslims produced by a filmmaker in the United States ridicules Islam and depicts the Prophet Mohammed as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman. American and Middle Eastern leaders have denounced the film and condemned acts of violence. In Libya, the American ambassador and three other staff members were killed when the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked.
Authorities in Indian-controlled Kashmir have asked the Indian government to block online clips from the film, the region's top police official Ashok Prasad said Friday.
U.S. and Israeli flags were burned at many of the protests across the Muslim-majority region. Hundreds of lawyers in the main city of Srinagar stopped work and marched out of court and into the streets in protest. One protester held a poster with Obama's picture and the words "real terrorist."
"The U.S. citizens visiting Kashmir should leave immediately as the sentiments of the Muslims have been hurt by these pictures," Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad, Kashmir's state-appointed cleric, was quoted as telling the Kashmir Reader, an English daily.
In response to the statement, U.S. Embassy officials sent out a message reiterating its call for citizens to stay away from Kashmir, a volatile territory where many oppose India's rule. Police said they were investigating the cleric's statement.