Innocence of Muslims Protests
A Muslim man shouts anti-US slogans during a protest against a film produced in the US, said to have insulted Prophet Mohammad, in Surabaya - Reuters Reuters

Islamic militant group al-Qaida has called for more severe protests against the US-produced Innocence of Muslims.

Trying to capitalise on the ongoing protests, Al-Qaida's branch in the Arabian Peninsula said the killing of US ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya was the best example to emulate for Muslims. "What has happened is a great event, and these efforts should come together in one goal, which is to expel the embassies of America from the lands of the Muslims," said the Yemeni-based group.

Stevens had died along with three others in Libya's Benghazi after protests broke out. Mourning their deaths, US President Barack Obama said during his weekly address: "I have made it clear that the United States has a profound respect for people of all faiths. We stand for religious freedom. And we reject the denigration of religion - including Islam.

Yet there is never any justification for violence. There is no religion that condones the targeting of innocent men and women."

Fearing more such attacks, Washington has pulled out its non-essential staff and families from Sudan and Tunisia. The Obama administration also urged US citizens in these countries to move out.

Stevens' death was also rumoured to be an act of vendetta on the 11<sup>th anniversary of the 9/11 attack.

The al-Qaida's long arm in the Middle East issued a statement urging Muslim protesters to burn down more US missions.

Instigating the Islamic world to take revenge for the film, the group said: "Our Muslim brothers in Western nations must fulfil their duties in supporting God's prophet ... because they are the most capable of reaching them and vexing them."

Despite Islamic leaders issuing statements urging protesters not to resort to violence, the demonstrations have spread beyond the Islamic world. Europe is the latest to be hit. Scores of protesters were seen outside the US embassies in Paris and Antwerp.

Protests are expected to take place outside the US embassy in London a little later. Hizb ut-Tahrir, a group which campaigns for Sharia law, said hundreds of Muslims will be taking part in the protests.

"The demonstration will be condemning in the strongest possible terms any and all insults against Islam and the symbols of our religion; especially those against the greatest man sent to mankind the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him," said the group which previously faced calls for a ban.