As anti-American riotsÂ spread to Australia, Al Qaeda urged Muslims to step up protests and kill moreÂ U.S. diplomats in Muslim countries in response to the U.S.-made film which mocksÂ the Prophet Mohammed.
The terror group made theÂ appeal as riot police clashedÂ withÂ around 200 protesters at the U.S. Consulate in Sydney on Saturday as demonstrations against the anti-Islam film ‘InnocenceÂ of Muslims’ spread across the world.
The Al Qaeda statementÂ said; ‘Whoever comes across America’s ambassadors or emissaries should followÂ the example of Omar al-Mukhtar’s descendants (Libyans), who killed the AmericanÂ ambassador,’ the group said, referring to Tuesday’s attack on the U.S. consulateÂ in the Libyan city of Benghazi.
‘Let the step ofÂ kickingÂ out the embassies be a step towards liberating Muslim countriesÂ from theÂ American hegemony,’ a statement posted on anÂ (AQAP) website on SaturdayÂ 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.
Police used pepper sprayÂ against the protesters, who chanted ‘Obama, Obama, we love Osama’ and wavedÂ placards saying ‘Behead all those who insult the Prophet.’
Fury about theÂ film sweptÂ across the Middle East after Friday prayers, with protestersÂ attacking U.S.Â embassies and in protests that killed at least sevenÂ people and promptedÂ Washington to send troops to bolster security at its missions.
‘The filmÂ published inÂ America which insults our Prophet Mohammad, peace be uponÂ him, comes as part ofÂ the continuing crusader wars against Islam,’Â AQAP’s statement said, referringÂ to European wars in the region someÂ 1,000 years ago.
Al-Qaeda in the ArabianÂ Peninsula, is mostly militants mainly from Yemen and Saudi Arabia, andÂ isÂ regarded by the United States as the most dangerous branch of the networkÂ founded by Osama bin Laden.
The group has used Yemen,Â a key regional U.S. ally, to plot attacks on the United States. Washington hasÂ backed a Yemeni army campaign that drove al Qaeda and its allies from theirÂ southern stronghold this year.
Muslims have blamed theÂ U.S. government for the amateurish film of obscure origin. Washington hasÂ condemned the film and said it does not condone any insult to anyÂ religion.
Praising the attacks byÂ angry demonstrators in Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Sudan on U.S. and other WesternÂ missions as ‘natural responses to a huge insult’, the statement said thatÂ American embassies should be burned and diplomats killed.
It said defending theÂ Prophet’s honor was a “religious duty and obligation to the Muslim nation, eachÂ according to his ability”.
The group also said thatÂ Muslims living in the West have an extra duty to be involved in attacks on keyÂ targets.
‘They are more capable ofÂ doing harm and reaching the enemy is easier for them,’ it said.
Impoverished Yemen isÂ struggling against challenges on many fronts since mass protests forcedÂ president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down last year after decades inÂ power.
The United States, eagerÂ to help the country recover from the upheaval that has pushed it to the brink ofÂ collapse, has said it would provide $345 million in security, humanitarian andÂ development aid this year, more than double last year.
A total of six policeÂ officers were injured, including two who were taken to a hospital. TwoÂ protesters were treated for police dog bites and 17Â others for the effects ofÂ pepper spray, police said in a statement.Â There were no details of theirÂ condition.
In Australia, Eight peopleÂ were arrested on charges including assaulting police and resistingÂ arrest.
Police said they wereÂ unsure who organized the protest.
‘There was little or noÂ organization or control of what they were doing, andÂ their actions wereÂ disgraceful,’ police Superintendent Mark Walton saidÂ in aÂ statement.
Prime Minister JulianÂ Gillard said the protest was unacceptable.
‘Violent protest is neverÂ acceptable – not today, not ever,’ she said in a statement.
Television pictures showed one policeman withÂ a head injury being led away by colleagues.
A spokesman for paramedics said there were noÂ serious injuries.
A police spokesman said the protest was beingÂ monitored, with demonstrators gathering in a central Sydney park.
A Muslim leader addressed the protesters inÂ the park, calling for calm.
Australia, a staunch U.S. ally with troopsÂ still fighting in Afghanistan, has a Muslim population of about 476,000, or 2.2Â percent of the population, according to 2011 census figures.
The violent protests in Australia follow fourÂ days of demonstrations across the Arab world, stretching from Egypt, Libya,Â Yemen, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Israel, Sudan, Nigeria, Tunisia andÂ Pakistan.