An Iraqi militia that carried out some of the most prominent attacks on foreigners during the Iraq war on Thursday threatened U.S. interests in the country over a film that has triggered protests in Libya, Egypt and Yemen according to Reuters news agency.
“The offence caused to the messenger (Prophet Mohammed) will put all American interests in danger and we will not forgive them for that,” said Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Asaib al-Haq militia.
The film titled “Innocence of Muslims,” showed clips from the movie posted on YouTube portraying the Muslim prophet engaging in offensive behavior.
The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens along with three staff members were killed on Tuesday in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi over the film.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets across several cities in Iraq calling on the Iraqi government to close the U.S. embassy in protest against the film.
Sunnis and Shiites, often stirred by attempts at sectarian division in Iraq, marched together.
Followers of anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr were among those who took to the streets. Protestors burned the U.S. flags voicing their anger and chanting, “Death to America.”
“How long will we stay in this coma where there is no real sanction?” Sheikh Riyadh al-Waeli, a Sadr aid, told protesters. “This demonstration is not enough unless there is a real sanction.”
“We have to fire the U.S ambassador because these things are carried out under U.S supervision and are aimed at offending Islam and Muslims,” protester Yaarab al-Mohammadawi told Reuters.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki denounced the film as “insulting” and “racist” but called on Muslims not to react with violence reported by Reuters.
“The natural response is to refrain from resorting to violence and demonstrate the principles of Islam and its civilized values,” he said in a statement on Thursday.