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Anti-American sentiment spreads to Asia

Sept. 21, 2012 at 1:09 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Anti-American sentiment spread into Asia as the U.S. State Department warned Friday of possible demonstrations targeting its regional interests.

Violence erupted last week in Libya and elsewhere in response to a film produced in the United States that was denigrating to the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and other staffers were killed in attacks that may have been tied to the film and U.S. President Barack Obama was broadcast on Pakistani television denouncing the video after protests there turned deadly.

The U.S. State Department released a series of advisories Friday warning of planned or anticipated demonstrations in front of diplomatic outposts across much of Asia, including China, Taiwan and as far west as Azerbaijan.

"Even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence," a message from the U.S. Consulate on Shamian Island in China stated.

Religious and U.N. leaders pleaded for calm after a French magazine exacerbated the situation by publishing a caricature of Muhammad.

A statement issued by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the African Union, the Arab League and the European Union affirmed the universal respect and tolerance for all religious beliefs and freedom of expression.

"Violence can have no place in our societies and offensive speech cannot be met with violent acts as it will only create a spiral of brutality from which we will all suffer," the statement added. "Reason rather than rage must prevail."

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