A protester holds a home made sign during a rally in Sydney's central business district as anger over a film that insults the Prophet Mohammed spread to Australia on Saturday

As anti-American riots  spread to Australia, Al Qaeda urged Muslims to step up protests and kill more  U.S. diplomats in Muslim countries in response to the U.S.-made film which mocks  the Prophet Mohammed.

The terror group made the  appeal as riot police clashed  with  around 200 protesters at the U.S. Consulate in Sydney on Saturday as demonstrations against the anti-Islam film ‘Innocence  of Muslims’ spread across the world.

The Al Qaeda statement  said; ‘Whoever comes across America’s ambassadors or emissaries should follow  the example of Omar al-Mukhtar’s descendants (Libyans), who killed the American  ambassador,’ the group said, referring to Tuesday’s attack on the U.S. consulate  in the Libyan city of Benghazi.

‘Let the step of  kicking  out the embassies be a step towards liberating Muslim countries  from the  American hegemony,’ a statement posted on an  (AQAP) website on Saturday  said.

In Australia, Ten Network television news showed a policeman knocked unconscious as the mostly male crowd hurled bottles and other missiles. Many of the protesters were wearing Muslim dress.

Protesters clash with policemen on a street in Sydney’s central business district, on September 15, 2012
A policeman, injured by protesters, is assisted by colleagues in central Sydney today after anger over an anti-Islam video spread to Australia
A protester holds a home made sign during a rally in Sydney’s central business district as anger over a film that insults the Prophet Mohammed spread to Australia on Saturday

Police used pepper spray  against the protesters, who chanted ‘Obama, Obama, we love Osama’ and waved  placards saying ‘Behead all those who insult the Prophet.’

Fury about the  film swept  across the Middle East after Friday prayers, with protesters  attacking U.S.  embassies and in protests that killed at least seven  people and prompted  Washington to send troops to bolster security at its missions.

‘The film  published in  America which insults our Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon  him, comes as part of  the continuing crusader wars against Islam,’  AQAP’s statement said, referring  to European wars in the region some  1,000 years ago.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian  Peninsula, is mostly militants mainly from Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and  is  regarded by the United States as the most dangerous branch of the network  founded by Osama bin Laden.

Kashmiri Muslim students shout anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans during a protest against a low-budget US film that depicts the Prophet Mohammed in Srinagar today
A protester hits a policeman with a pole in in Sydney today as anger of the anti-Islamic video produced in the U.S. spread to Australia
Protesters pray in front of a line of police officers in Sydney’s Hyde Park today

The group has used Yemen,  a key regional U.S. ally, to plot attacks on the United States. Washington has  backed a Yemeni army campaign that drove al Qaeda and its allies from their  southern stronghold this year.

Muslims have blamed the  U.S. government for the amateurish film of obscure origin. Washington has  condemned the film and said it does not condone any insult to any  religion.

Praising the attacks by  angry demonstrators in Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Sudan on U.S. and other Western  missions as ‘natural responses to a huge insult’, the statement said that  American embassies should be burned and diplomats killed.

It said defending the  Prophet’s honor was a “religious duty and obligation to the Muslim nation, each  according to his ability”.

The group also said that  Muslims living in the West have an extra duty to be involved in attacks on key  targets.

‘They are more capable of  doing harm and reaching the enemy is easier for them,’ it said.

Impoverished Yemen is  struggling against challenges on many fronts since mass protests forced  president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down last year after decades in  power.

The United States, eager  to help the country recover from the upheaval that has pushed it to the brink of  collapse, has said it would provide $345 million in security, humanitarian and  development aid this year, more than double last year.

A total of six police  officers were injured, including two who were taken to a hospital. Two  protesters were treated for police dog bites and 17  others for the effects of  pepper spray, police said in a statement.  There were no details of their  condition.

In Australia, Eight people  were arrested on charges including assaulting police and resisting  arrest.

Police said they were  unsure who organized the protest.

‘There was little or no  organization or control of what they were doing, and  their actions were  disgraceful,’ police Superintendent Mark Walton said  in a  statement.

Prime Minister Julian  Gillard said the protest was unacceptable.

‘Violent protest is never  acceptable – not today, not ever,’ she said in a statement.

Television pictures showed one policeman with  a head injury being led away by colleagues.

A spokesman for paramedics said there were no  serious injuries.

A police spokesman said the protest was being  monitored, with demonstrators gathering in a central Sydney park.

A Muslim leader addressed the protesters in  the park, calling for calm.

Australia, a staunch U.S. ally with troops  still fighting in Afghanistan, has a Muslim population of about 476,000, or 2.2  percent of the population, according to 2011 census figures.

The violent protests in Australia follow four  days of demonstrations across the Arab world, stretching from Egypt, Libya,  Yemen, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Israel, Sudan, Nigeria, Tunisia and  Pakistan.


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