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KUALA LUMPUR: Thousands of Malaysians gathered at several locations around the country yesterday to protest against the anti-Islam video, Innocence of Muslims.
In the city, two political groups, often at loggerheads , came together in solidarity in the name of Islam.
At least 3,000 Umno Youth supporters gathered in front of Masjid Jamek in Kampung Baru while a similar number of Pas Youth members stood in front of the United States embassy in Jalan Tun Razak after Friday prayers.
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin told the crowd the protest was for the sake of Prophet Muhammad.
“Muslims and non-Muslims have come together to object to the lack of respect towards Islam,” he said, drawing cheers from the crowd, which included Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali and secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali.
Pas Youth supporters thronged the Tabung Haji mosque and began marching to the embassy, situated 300m away.
The road was closed to traffic to allow the crowd to make their way to the embassy.
The crowd was led by several Pas leaders, including its vice-president Salahuddin Ayub, Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi and information chief Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president Tian Chua and Lembah Pantai member of parliament Nurul Izzah Anwar.
After several speeches by the leaders, in which they condemned the 13-minute video clip, representatives were allowed by police to walk to the embassy to hand over a memorandum.
They urged the US to investigate whether or not the film was produced to provoke hatred and anger towards Muslims.
"We call on them to also take swift action against those who were behind the production of the clip," said Nasrudin after handing over the memo to a guard at the embassy.
Cheras police chief Assistant Commissioner Mohan Singh Tara Singh said the demonstration proceeded peacefully.
"We are glad that there were no untoward incidents and the crowd was peaceful."
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said the demonstration should be viewed as a positive deed.
"It can be seen as a way to express dissatisfaction. As Muslims, we should protest as the issue involves our prophet."
Jamil said although Malaysians were disappointed and angered by the video, they must continue to take a rational approach to the situation.
In George Town, the Penang Muslim League, its affiliates and other Muslim non-governmental organisations condemned the video "in the harshest form".
League president Datuk Najmudeen Kader said as religion was based on strong fundamental beliefs, mocking and insulting the faiths of people, be it Islam or any other religion, would have strong reactions.
He said the organisation wanted US authorities to censor the film completely and compel the filmmaker to apologise publicly to Muslims worldwide before more damage was done.
More than 1,000 people from Masjid Kapitan Keling and 500 from Masjid Melayu in Lebuh Acheh held a peaceful demonstration after their Friday prayers.
In Kuching, some 300 protesters marched from the Kuching Mosque to the central police station to lodge a report against the movie and recent caricatures of Prophet Muhammad in the French magazine, Chart.
The protesters, led by former senator Datuk Idris Buang, called upon Google, YouTube and all contributors of public domains to stop publishing offending videos of any religion. Additional reporting by Lee Keng Fatt, Dennis Wong, Akil Yunus and Ashraf Hafizuddin