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At the same time, it’s also opened fault lines within the Muslim world over what’s an acceptable response. In many ways, it’s simply an extension of the same internal struggles over Islam’s moral compass that has gripped the faith for decades.
An Indonesian Muslim scholar, Komaruddin Hidayat, said Muslims have the duty to oppose to anything they deem offensive to their faith, but must "avoid using violence in expressing their objections." At the other end of the Muslim world in Nigeria, a top Islamic leader, Sheik Sani Yahaya Jingir, said violence never brings "any benefit to Islam."
For Jumaa al-Qurishi, a 38-year-old Iraq librarian: "This is not freedom. This is an act of aggression."
"Yes, we understand the First Amendment and all of this stuff," wrote Khalid Amayreh, a prominent Islamist commentator and blogger in Hebron on the West Bank. "But you must also understand that the Prophet (for us) is a million times more sacred than the American Constitution."
He adds: "As Americans have their own idiots and fanatics, we, too, have our idiots and fanatics. And as Americans are utterly unable — probably unwilling as well — to stop their idiots, we, too, are less able to rein in ours."
There’s no wonder why the loudest voices still tend to rule the day, said Issandr El Amrani, a Moroccan-American journalist and visiting fellow at the European Center for Foreign Relations, a pan-European think tank.
"The resulting cascade of outrage is now predictable," he wrote in Abu Dhabi’s The National newspaper. "Islamophobes in the West will say, ‘We told you they’re fanatics,’ and the crowd-riling demagogues here will say, ‘We told you they disrespect us.’ And politicians everywhere will use the language of outrage in their petty calculations."
In Gaza, 23-year-old Rawhi Alwan described a cycle of mutual blame: "Some crazy Muslims will commit devilish acts to respond to the devilish sin."
Before he left for a peaceful Friday demonstration against the film, he changed his Facebook profile picture. It became an image pledging loyalty to Prophet Muhammad.
Associated Press writers Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City, Adam Schreck in Dubai, Riaz Khan in Peshawar, Pakistan and Lara Jakes in Baghdad contributed to this report.
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