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'Innocence of Muslims' film inspires Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda to new heights of extremism

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 16th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A very poorly made video - many mistakenly refer to the short "Innocence of Muslims" as a film - with non-actors attired in bed sheets against an obvious green screen has allegedly inspired armed insurrection across the Arab world due to its blasphemous depiction of the prophet Mohammed. Now, the branch of al-Qaeda in Yemen is exhorting others to kill Americans and burn down embassies in what they call "natural responses to a huge insult."

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The groups says that the violence was justified to protect the prophet's honor and was a "religious duty and obligation to the Muslim nation, each according to his ability."

Furthermore, the arm of the terrorist organization says that Muslims living in the West have a special obligation to be involved in attacks on key targets.

"They are more capable of doing harm and reaching the enemy is easier for them," it said.

Yemen, by far one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, is embroiled against challenges on many fronts. A popular uprising forced President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down last year after decades in power.

While painted as a virulent enemy, the United States in fact has been eager to help Yemen recover from the upheaval that has pushed it to the brink of collapse. Officials have promised that the U.S. would provide $345 million in security, humanitarian and development aid this year, more than double last year.

The invective spewing from al-Qaeda in Yemen disregards this goodwill without heed. "Whoever comes across America's ambassadors or emissaries should follow the example of Omar al-Mukhtar's descendants (Libyans), who killed the American ambassador," the group said, in reference to the recent attack in the Libyan city of Benghazi.

"Let the step of kicking out the embassies be a step towards liberating Muslim countries from the American hegemony," a statement posted on an Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Web site this past weekend said.

"The film published in America which insults our Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, comes as part of the continuing crusader wars against Islam," AQAP's statement said, referring to European wars in the region some hundreds of years ago.

"The incident is so huge that the resources of the nation should be pooled together to kick out the embassies of America from Muslim lands," it said.

AQAP is comprised chiefly by militants mainly from Yemen and Saudi Arabia and is widely regarded as the most dangerous branch of the network founded by Osama bin Laden.

The group has used Yemen, a key regional U.S. ally, to plot attacks on the United States.

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