Warning: burning the American Flag may be harmful to your health. A Pakistani protester died Tuesday after reportedly inhaling smoke from a burning American flag during a violent anti-American protest.
Some 10,000 people rallied this week in Lahore, the capital of the Punjab province, to protest the movie trailer that Muslims say insults Islam, according to the International Herald-Tribune.
One protester, identified as Abdullah Ismail, died a day after being taken to Mayo Hospital in Lahore, The NY Post noted.
Witnesses said Ismail had complained of feeling ill after breathing fumes from American flags burnt at the rally, Pakistan’s Express Tribune reported.
The rally was organized on the city's landmark mall by the Tehreek Hurmat-i-Rasool. Despite a ban on rallies on The Mall, local officials blocked off the road leading to it from noon to 6 p.m., apparently to facilitate the event, Fox news says.
Innocence of Muslims
The film trailer that has spurred angry protests throughout the Middle East, "Innocence of Muslims," was produced by a California man. The trailer ridicules Islam and depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a pedophile.
According to Arutz Sheva news, the video, released six months ago in the United States, made no headlines at all until a clip was translated into Arabic, posted on the Internet and broadcast on Egyptian television.
Radical Islamists and Muslims extremists instantly pounced on the clip as the latest excuse for worldwide violence to “defend the honor of Islam.” The chief justice of Pakistan’s supreme court ordered the state telecommunications authority to block the film on YouTube because it is considered blasphemous.
Among the Muslim clerics whipping the crowd into a frenzy was the head of the jihadist Jamatud Dawa group, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who insisted the U.S. government was linked to the film, Arutz Sheva news said.
Saeed called for film director Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and those involved in its production and distribution to be hanged, and then according to the Tribune, he issued a direct threat:
“The U.S. must make a law against blasphemy – or we will not let the US consulates in Pakistan function,” a rally organizer told the paper.
The Express Tribune stated that another leader speaking to the gathering, Jamaat-i-Islami Ameer Munawar Hasan said, “If the US claims to be a civilized nation, why does it stoop to insult other religions and civilizations?”