Taouil was speaking after protests at a You Tube video from a film insulting the prophet Muhammad. The Antwerp protests followed incidents in Libya and Cairo in which US embassies were attacked and four US diplomatic staff killed. However, it later emerged that the Libya attack had been planned to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11 and merely used the anti-video protest as a cover.
Imam Taouil called on Antwerp Muslims to “ignore this provocation, the intent of which was to cause conflict between the religions.” Mohammed Chakkar, of the Federation of Moroccan Associations, also condemned the violence, which he said had been forbidden by preachers in the mosques. And the Muslim Executive issued a statement: “The freedom of expression is a fundamental right in a democracy but has to be applied with intelligence. Provocation and incitement to hatred have to be avoided.”
Elsewhere, about 30 people were arrested in central Brussels and in Sint-Joost-ten-Node during protests, including six in the area of the US embassy, where all demonstrations are forbidden at all times. In Ghent, a small group of young people held a march against the film, without incident.