The anti-America rally over a video that allegedly depicted prophet Mohammed in a bad light and resulted in the death of an American ambassador in Libya on Tuesday has spread to Australia.
Islamic protests broke Saturday at the Sydney commercial business district as protesters gathered at the town hall before noon and then moved to the U.S. consulate in Martin Place to join the escalating anti-U.S. protests in other parts of the world.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard led Australian politicians in condemning the violent protest. She was particularly appalled at the photo of a child who was standing beside a baby and held a sign that read "Behead all those who insult the prophet."
"I absolutely condemn the violence that we saw yesterday on the streets of Sydney. There is never any excuse for violent behaviour," Ms Gillard was quoted by The Herald Sun on Monday.
"I do not want to see in the hands of anyone, particularly children, offensive signs that call for the killing of others. This is not the Australian way," the prime minister said.
The street battle with police resulted in injury to 17 people, six of whom were police officers. Ms Gillard said while she agreed with Islam followers that the 14-minute anti-Islamist video which was posted on YouTube was truly repulsive, it was not an excuse for violent behaviour.
New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell added that the violent protest, which horrified him, was the unacceptable face of multiculturalism.
The NSW police had to use capsicum spray to disperse the Islamic protesters who tried to move past the police force.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott said that while the protest did not reflect the Islamic residents of Australia, he reminded Muslim migrants to surrender their hatred, but not their heritage.
Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce pushed for a stronger statement against the violent protests. "The riot that has happened in Sydney was supported by a certain world view that is not in our national interest. A response is demanded by politicians," he said.
However, Foreign Minister Bob Carr pointed out that the Saturday demonstrations was organised by a small group that is pushing for more extremism and hatred.
"Not for one moment should people believe the Muslims you go to school with or work next to have their views represented by those hot-headed extremists we say yesterday," Mr Carr was quoted by Perth Now on Sunday.
A day after the protest, British Muslim leader Taji Mustafa addressed 500 people at the yearly conference of the Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir at Bankstown in Sydney. When asked about Mr Abbott's accusation that he is a preacher of hate and should be banned in Australia, Mr Mustafa declined to comment.
"I don't think we need the preachers of hate in this country. We certainly shouldn't be giving visas to people who are the people of hate," The Herald Sun quoted Mr Abbott, who admitted not reading Mr Mustafa's preachings, but was given briefings about the Hizb ut-Tharir.
However, Ms Gillard disagreed with Mr Abbott's views on Mr Mustafa.
"The organisation that he has come to visit is not a proscribed terrorist organisation, not here in Australia, not in the United States, not in the United Kingdom, and was not under the Howard government," Ms Gillard pointed out.
The police are now searching for the owner of a computer that was used to send out a text message that sparked the Muslim riots on Saturday.
The SMS read: "Emergency change of date it's on tomorrow!!! They have mocked him in pictures and now MOCKING HIM in a MOVIE WHY ARE WE ALLOWING THIS!!!! WHY ARE WE SILENCED ....WE MUST DEFEND HIS HONOUR.... Tomorrow 15.9.12 @ TOWN HALL STATION 1PM... WE MUST ACT NOW!!!!!!!!! Spread the word fast!!!"
Federal and NSW police said Al-Qaida sympathizers were among those involved in the Saturday protests, which Muslim leaders denounced.
"Our prophet would be sitting in heaving wondering are those really my followers?" The Australian quoted Keysat Trad, founder of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia.
To contact the editor, e-mail: