(TheBlaze/AP) -- Muslim anger over perceived Western insults to Islam has erupted into dangerous explosions several times, most recently in Tuesday's attacks against U.S. diplomatic posts in the Middle East in which U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
The violence, fueled mostly by religious zealots, reflects the tension between Muslims and the secular West that followed the September 11 attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Here are some of the most serious incidents that have unfolded over the past decade:
The September 2005 publication by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad unleashed a wave of violent protests by Muslims, who believe any image of their religion's founder is forbidden. Dozens of people were killed in weeks of protests that included violent attacks against Danish missions in Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Lebanon. At least six people were killed in a June 2008 suicide bombing at the Danish embassy in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. Al-Qaida claimed responsibility, citing anger over the cartoons. The Danish government described the Muslim backlash as the country's worst international crisis since World War II.
VAN GOGH ASSASSINATION
Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, an outspoken critic of Islam whose film "Submission" criticized the treatment of Muslim women, was shot dead in November 2004 as he bicycled in the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam. A 26-year-old Dutch citizen of Moroccan origin, Mohammed Bouyeri, was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Van Gogh's assassination set off a wave of more than 170 small reprisal attacks against mosques and churches over the following weeks, according to a report by the Anne Frank Foundation and the University of Leiden.
"BURN A KORAN DAY"
A 2010 call by a Florida preacher Terry Jones to burn Korans on the ninth anniversary of 9/11 alarmed the U.S. military, which feared the move would endanger the lives of American troops fighting Islamist extremists in Afghanistan and Iraq. Although Jones called off the burning, thousands of Afghans encouraged by the Taliban set fire to tires in the streets of Afghan capital Kabul and other cities and chanted "Death to America." Police in a province near Kabul fired shots in the air to disperse a crowd trying to storm the governor's residence.
Jones' congregation went ahead with a Koran burning in March 2011, triggering protests across Afghanistan after video of the ceremony was posted on the Internet. In the most violent protest, hundreds of protesters stormed a U.N. compound in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, killing seven foreigners, including four Nepalese guards.
MORE KORAN BURNING
In February, U.S. soldiers at Bagram prison in Afghanistan burned 315 copies of the Koran and other religious materials that had been taken from Bagram's facility library for disposal. Word of the burning, which the U.S. said was unintentional, triggered scores of anti-American protests across the country which left more than 30 Afghans and six U.S. soldiers dead. They included two U.S. troops who were shot by an Afghan soldier and two U.S. military advisers who were gunned down at their desks at the Afghan Interior Ministry. Six U.S. Army soldiers received unspecified administrative punishment for the burning, the Pentagon announced last month.
These incidents, alone, exemplify the issues that continue to exist between the West and Middle Eastern extremists. The violence that has resulted, even in cases in which offensive gestures were unintended, is disturbing and deserves scrutiny and further exploration.
- This Is the Anti-Muhammed Movie That Sparked Deadly Islamist Protests in Egypt & Libya Yesterday
- Reports: US Ambassador and Three American Embassy Workers Killed by Angry Mob In Libya
- Video Emerges of Rioting Egyptian Islamists Tearing Apart American Flag on 9/11 Anniversary
- White House Repudiates U.S. Embassy Apology to Rioting Muslims in Cairo
- Egyptian Islamists Tear Down U.S. Embassy Flag in Protest Against Anti-Muhammad Film