Afghanistan bans YouTube in response to US film insulting the Prophet Mohammad

Afghanistan just banned Google’s YouTube over an American film posted on the video-sharing platform that insults the Prophet Mohammad, subsequently spurred riots in North Africa, and led to the killing of Libya’s U.S. ambassador.

Aimal Marjan, Afghanistan’s general director of Information Technology at the Ministry of Communications, who rebuffed additional questions as to whether the country blocked YouTube to avert more violence or as a safeguard from further insults, told Reuters:

“We have been told to shut down YouTube to the Afghan public until the video is taken down.”

The controversial film apparently portrays Mohammad as a womanizer and a religious hoax, so Afghan President Hamid Karzai promptly condemned it and then claimed freedom of speech does not permit the disrespect of Islam.

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Reuters further explained:

U.S. pastor Terry Jones, whose plans to burn the Koran triggered deadly riots in Afghanistan in 2010, said he had promoted the film, called “Innocence of Muslims”.

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three embassy staff were killed as they rushed away from a consulate building in Benghazi, stormed by al Qaeda-linked gunmen. Another assault was mounted on the U.S. embassy in Cairo.

The accidental burning of Korans at a U.S. base near Kabul in February drew thousands of protesters to the streets across Afghanistan for weeks and dozens of people were killed.

It is worth noting Google was not involved with the production of the anti-Muslim film, but we reached out to the folks in Mountain View for a comment and will update if more information is made available.


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