Egypt suspends YouTube over film deemed insulting to Prophet Muhammad
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Egypt suspends YouTube over film deemed insulting to Prophet Muhammad

One-month block on video sharing platform comes after years-long effort to suspend site over ‘Innocence of Muslims’ movie

This photo illustration taken on March 23, 2018, shows YouTube logos on a computer screen in Beijing. (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)
This photo illustration taken on March 23, 2018, shows YouTube logos on a computer screen in Beijing. (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)

An Egyptian court ordered the suspension for one month of the video-sharing website YouTube and other sites sharing a video found to be insulting to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

The Supreme Administrative Court’s ruling on Saturday dismissed appeals against a 2013 ruling, including one by the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority that said the ruling’s application is not feasible.

Saturday’s verdict is final and cannot be appealed.

In 2012, the 14-minute US-made video trailer titled “The Innocence of Muslims,” which appeared on YouTube, triggered protests across the Muslim world, including in Egypt.

The 2012 amateurish film depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a buffoon and a pedophile, and sparked a wave of angry anti-American protests across the Middle East in which more than 30 people were killed.

Protesters destroy an American flag at the US Embassy in Cairo and replace it with a black Islamic flag. They climbed the walls and were protesting a film they deemed offensive to Islam. (photo credit: Mohammed Abu Zaid, AP Photo)
Protesters destroy an American flag at the US Embassy in Cairo and replace it with a black Islamic flag. They climbed the walls and were protesting a film they deemed offensive to Islam. (Mohammed Abu Zaid, AP Photo)

Washington sought to keep a lid on the demonstrations by saying the controversial film was made privately with no official backing.

US officials said freedom of speech laws prevented them from stopping the production of inflammatory material.

Obama administration members initially said the September 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, in which four Americans were killed, was the result of a spontaneous protest against the video. The attack was later determined to have been premeditated.

The video can still be found on YouTube with a disclaimer saying it has been found “inappropriate or offensive to some audiences.”

It remains unclear whether the ruling will be enforced. As of Saturday afternoon, YouTube was still accessible in Cairo.

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