Protests sparked by an online film that mocks Islam's holy prophet entered a second week Monday, raising questions about whether the furor is isolated or a sign of broader anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world.
On Monday, demonstrators took to the streets in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq. Answering a call from the leader of Hezbollah -- deemed a terrorist organization by the United States -- thousands packed the streets of Beirut's southern suburbs and chanted "Death to America!"
Monday's protests weren't on the scale as those last week, nor did they provoke the same level of international crisis by endangering U.S. diplomatic missions. Still, the fact the demonstrations are continuing -- and that they have occurred, now, in more than 20 countries -- suggests the anti-American furor tied to the inflammatory film isn't going away.
Plus, the issue has provided political fodder for Islamist leaders including Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, who had urged people to protest Monday against the film.
Speaking to largely peaceful crowd in Beirut, some of them waving the yellow flag of Hezbollah, Nasrallah asked the protesters and, in fact, all Muslims worldwide to push for laws to criminalize "insulting monotheistic faiths and their great prophets, from Abraham to Moses to Jesus and Mohammed."
"The world until now cannot comprehend ... the degree of insult this disgusting film caused to the Prophet Mohammed," he added.
Earlier in the day in Afghanistan, hundreds of demonstrators attacked police officers along a road leading to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. In neighboring Pakistan, at least one person died when protesters clashed with police in an anti-American demonstration in the tribal region along the Afghan border.
In Iraq, hundreds of protesters in Falluja, about 60 kilometers (35 miles) west of Baghdad, demanded the U.S. ambassador's expulsion from the country and a boycott of American products. The protesters carried flags and banners, including one that read, "It's time for all Muslims around the world to stand together against the enemy of Islam."
And in Indonesia, protesters threw rocks and used slingshots to launch marbles at riot police outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta. Police responded with tear gas.
The United States has made it clear that it did not sanction the low-budget, amateurish 14-minute movie trailer posted on YouTube and produced privately in the United States. The clip, which has been banned by YouTube in several countries, mocks the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and killer.
Islam forbids any depictions of Mohammed, and blasphemy is taboo among many in the Muslim world.
The film clip was relatively obscure until last Tuesday, when rioters breached the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and upset protesters attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
A wave of protests since then has rippled from Morocco to Malaysia, spurring U.S. officials to increase security at diplomatic missions and demand other governments to take action.
U.S. ambassador: Protests have 'nothing to do with' U.S.
The demonstrations are part of inevitable turbulence in a region that has undergone tremendous change over the past year, said the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.
"It's a change that the United States has backed because we understand that when democracy takes root, when human rights and people's freedom of expression can be manifested, it may lead to turbulence in the short term. But over the long term, that is in the interest of the United States," she told CNN on Sunday.
Appearing on several Sunday talk shows, Rice contended that the mobs outside U.S. embassies -- particularly in nations like Egypt, that have strong ties to the United States -- are a minority and "have largely lost in these emerging democratic processes." As U.S. officials have pointed out, the number of protesting outside U.S. diplomatic missions represent a fraction of the populations in their countries.
"And just as the (majority of) people of these countries are not going to allow their lives to be hijacked by a dictator, they're not going to allow an extremist mob to hijack their future and their freedom," she said.
Rice insisted the protests are nothing more than outrage over the online video.
"This is not an expression of hostility in the broadest sense toward the United States or U.S. policy," Rice told Fox News. "It's proximately a reaction to this video -- and it's a hateful video that had nothing to do with the United States and which we find disgusting and reprehensible."
But that is not the view of an independent American Islamic organization, whose executive director said the issue has gone beyond sensitivity over the "Innocence of Muslims."
"The film was just an excuse to lead to these kind of riots in the street," Zainab Al-Suwaij of the American Islamic Congress told CNN.
She urged U.S. government officials to pressure officials in countries where demonstrations have taken place to control their people.
"The only language that they do understand over there is the pressure that comes from the government," she said.
Investigation into ambassador's killing