MANILA - An Islamic expert warned Monday that violence may worsen in the Middle East and other nations because of a film clip mocking the Prophet Mohammad, but he doesn't see it spreading to the Philippines.
Prof. Jukipli Wadi, who teaches at the University of the Philippines' Institute of Islamic Studies, told radio dzMM that protests that began in Egypt have already spread to Libya, Tunisia, Sudan, Morocco, and others countries.
"Medyo may difficulty iyung Arab Spring diyan," he said, citing the pro-democracy revolts in the region that have removed dictators from power.
"Spill-over niyan, naramdaman na rin sa Afghanistan, Pakistan and here in Southeast Asia like Malaysia and Indonesia," Wadi said.
A short clip of the movie "Innocence of Muslims" that has been posted on YouTube has ignited violent protests across the Muslim world.
The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and 3 other Americans were killed in Benghazi, Libya, last Tuesday and several other people have died in protests against the video.
Clips of the film posted online since July have been attributed to a man named Sam Bacile, which two people linked to the film have said was probably an alias.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, a Coptic Christian widely linked to the film in media reports, was voluntarily questioned on Saturday by US authorities investigating possible violations of his probation for a bank fraud conviction.
Wadi said governments in Muslim countries are doing their best to end the violence.
"Ang position ng head of states ay hindi naman katulad ng position ng mga militant group. Ginagawa naman ng mga gobyerno, pinapahupa ang mga emotion," he said.
He, however, warned that extremists are exploiting the situation.
"Ang problema lang iyung mga militant groups na parang mayroon parteng pagsasalamantala," he said.
"Diyan sa Libya, there was really a big void left with the death of Kaddafi. Many groups emerged, what we call the jihadists and the Salafists who try to make their presence felt," he explained.
"With the new layer of Islamophobia, iyun naman ang intention ng film, ay parang naguudyok sa mga militant groups to engage in more violence," Wadi said.
"Iyun ang problema. Iyung mga militant groups are really taking advantage," he said.
Wadi said although the Organization of Islamic Conference is talking to the US government to end the violence, efforts must be made to reach ordinary Muslims.
"Kailangan talaga ng grassroots. Nasa grassroots ang efforts dapat," he said.
Wadi does not believe that the violence will spread to the Philippines.
"Sa lebel natin dito sa Manila, ang reading natin, hindi masyadong ganun kabagsik iyung magiging reaksiyon," he said.
"Hopefully, wala nang magsamantala," he added. - with a report from Reuters