Spontaneous protests over a depiction of the prophet Mohammed which led to attacks against multiple embassies weren't actually spontaneous and its organizers were intent on escalating the situation and introducing violence, according to the former spokesperson of a working group of imams who coordinated the response to a Danish newspaper publishing cartoons of Mohammed in 2005. Freedom House reports:
[As Ahmed Akkari] explains in his book [My Farewell to Islamism] and a number of interviews he has given since last summer, the protests and mayhem were not spontaneous reactions from the Muslim community. Instead they were produced by a calculated conspiracy between a group of Danish imams and ambassadors from various Muslim countries, who decided not only to appeal to influential Muslim states and clerics in order to put pressure on Denmark, but also to call on brute force from terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah. The latter alliance probably led directly to the destruction of the embassies in Beirut and Damascus…
What is most surprising—and chilling—in Akkari's book is how willing the Danish Islamists were to escalate the situation, with no qualms about the possibility that it could result in violence. They deliberately played a double game with the Danish and international community, pretending to work for peace and reconciliation while covertly taking actions that could only lead to more confrontations. For the imams, a "clash of civilizations" was something to be cherished, not avoided, even if the violence became far more extreme than they had expected.
Our own Matt Welch wrote the Los Angeles Times editorial on the cartoon controversy, something he discussed on this blog in 2010, when outrage over the depiction of Mohammed—something prohibited in certain hadiths, or sayings of Mohammed, but not in the Quran, Islam's holy book, itself—came to the U.S. over the animated TV show South Park's attempt to depict Mohammed in a parody. Reason hosted Everybody Draw Mohammed Day after the cartoonist who first proposed it went into hiding because of threats of violence. Check out the winners here. As Nick Gillespie noted at the time, some of the foulest images of Mohammed used to stir up outrage in the Middle East over the Danish cartoons were actually created by the imams themselves.