‘Innocence of Muslims’ Protests Hit Crimea, Caucasus

A republic in Russia’s North Caucasus and a Ukrainian region joined the wave of protests against the notorious movie “Innocence of Muslims” this week, reports said on Thursday.

Protests in the North Caucasus were reported by a local prosecutor who refused to specify their location, date, or size, but who did indicate that they could trigger an escalation of violence in the volatile region.

Several internet service providers in the predominantly Islamic republic of Chechnya have blocked access to the video-sharing site YouTube, which offers access to the movie. The owner of Russia’s biggest social network, Vk.com, Pavel Durov, this week ordered that links to the film be deleted from his network.

A prosecutor’s request to ban “Innocence of Muslims” as extremist is due to be considered by a court in Moscow next week.

Approximately 700 Muslims rallied on Thursday in Simferopol, the capital of Ukraine’s republic of Crimea.

The protest was peaceful despite being staged by a local group affiliated with Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organization banned as extremist in Russia, Turkey, Pakistan and elsewhere (but notably not in the Western countries), reported local news site Tsn.ua.

“Innocence of Muslims,” a crude satire on Islam made in the United States, has triggered violent protests across the Muslim world. Small-scale peaceful protests also took place earlier this week in the former-Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as in the predominantly Islamic republic of Tatarstan in Russia.


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