Cycles of Violence

Posted September 12th, 2012 at 3:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Violence in Libya and the more peaceful protests in Egypt, sparked by the online trailer of a film that mocks Islam's Prophet Muhammad, is only the latest high-profile incident caused by anti-Muslim actions and anti-Western reaction.

A teenage girl in Pakistan, a Christian, was released from jail last Friday after being accused of breaking Pakistan's blasphemy laws by allegedly burning pages of the Quran. Many Christians living in her neighborhood fled the area, fearing revenge from Muslims. Amnesty International says that despite her release, the girl is still in danger.

U.S. troops sparked outrage in Afghanistan last February by burning copies of the Quran. The incident resulted in violence across Afghanistan that left 30 people dead.

In 2010, Florida pastor Terry Jones ignited controversy with the announcement that he planned to burn Qurans on the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. That announcement sparked protest rallies across the Middle East and Asia, with some demonstrators burning effigies of the pastor, as well as American flags. An estimated 20 people died. Jones backed down, but later burned a copy of the Quran inside his church, sparking more protests abroad.

In 2005, publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten sparked protests across the Islamic world. Some 100 people are estimated to have died when the demonstrations turned violent.

In 1988, Indian-born author Salman Rushdie published a book called The Satanic Verses, considered by Muslims to be an irreverent depiction of The Prophet. The book provoked demonstrations, often violent, by Muslims in several countries. Rushdie was the target of death threats, and then-Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against the author. The Iranian government backed that fatwa until 1998, when it said it no longer supported the killing of Rushdie.