TV Host Who Aired Scenes From Anti-Islam Film 'Shocked' by Violent Reaction
As the militant group Hezbollah led protests in Beirut today against the U.S. and a controversial anti-Islam movie, Egyptian cleric and talk show host Khaled Abdallah, one of the first to broadcast scenes from the film, said that although he had no regrets, he was "shocked" at the fury spreading through the Muslim world.
In an interview with ABC News, Abdallah said that he was never inciting violence and that he deplored it.
Before the demonstrations erupted in Cairo and around the globe, Abdallah showed clips from the controversial film "The Innocence of Muslims."
"I hope other media and TV will discuss this film," he said during his show. "There is nothing as important in our life as the prophet and we defend the prophet."
Days later, excerpts of the movie had reached the Muslim world, setting off anti-American demonstrations in Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, Yemen and other countries.
Abdallah said today that the rage aimed at the U.S. had been simmering for years and had boiled over when people saw the movie. He hasn't shown clips from the movie again.
In Beirut today, people poured into the streets with fists in the air in a show of anger. Some chanted, "Death to America."
The leader of Hezbollah made a rare public appearance as well, calling the film that ridicules the prophet Muhammad the worst insult to Islam ever.
He warned that if the U.S. didn't ban the film, there would be serious repercussions against the U.S. around the world.
The group also called for four more protests around Lebanon this week.
"Stop this movie," one woman said. "Judge whoever did this movie in front of the court."
There were anti-film protests in at least seven other countries today, including Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and the West Bank.
However, in Egypt, where the demonstrations were first reported, and in Libya, where four Americans including the U.S. ambassador were killed last week, things were quiet today.