Following protests in Cairo and Libya Tuesday, where a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were murdered, hundreds of rioting Muslims gathered outside the U.S. consulate in Morocco’s largest city Casablanca to protest an anti-Muslim film that reportedly disrespects the prophet Muhammad, according to an AFP report.
As many as 400 protesters, many young Islamic activists, crowded along the consulate walls and chanted anti-U.S. statements, including “Death to Obama!” At the time of this report, there had been no reports of violence and the protests were being monitored by a heavy police presence.
Similar protests against the film were reportedly held outside the U.S. embassies in Sudan and Tunisia on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, a mob of radical Islamists enraged by a film ridiculing Islam’s prophet killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in a fiery attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. The attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens – the first U.S. diplomat to die in the line of duty since 1979 – came on Tuesday’s 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist strike and presented a new foreign policy crisis for the United States in a region trying to recover from months of upheaval.
Before Tuesday, five U.S. ambassadors had been killed in the line of duty, the last being Adolph Dubs in Afghanistan in 1979, according to the State Department.
The two-hour movie that sparked the protests, titled “Innocence of Muslims,” came to attention in Egypt after its trailer was dubbed into Arabic and posted on YouTube.
A man identifying himself as Sam Bacile, a 56-year-old California real estate developer, said he wrote, produced and directed the movie.
He told the AP he was an Israeli Jew and an American citizen. But Israeli officials said they had not heard of Bacile and there was no record of him being a citizen. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not permitted to share personal information with the media.
Separately, the film was being promoted by an extreme anti-Muslim Egyptian Christian pastor Terry Jones in the United States. On Wednesday, a MSNBC panel debated whether Jones should be held responsible for the deaths resulting from the protests. Others on the left have presented similar arguments, saying the film is to blame for the attacks, seemingly deflecting blame from the radical Islamists who carried out the acts of violence.
The U.S. embassy in Cairo issued an apology to Muslims shortly after rioting Muslims tore apart the American flag outside the embassy: “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”
Further, U.S. embassies in at least seven countries in the Middle East, including Sudan, Tunisia and Morocco, Africa and the Caucuses are warning of possible anti-American protests.
The embassies in Armenia, Burundi, Kuwait, Sudan, Tunisia and Zambia, along with the embassy in Egypt, which was hit by a protest on Tuesday, all issued warnings on Wednesday advising Americans to be particularly vigilant.
The warnings, posted on the embassies’ websites, do not report any specific threat to Americans but note that demonstrations can become violent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This story is developing and may be updated.