The most senior Islamic cleric in Indian Kashmir has told all US citizens to "immediately leave" the region because of the privately-produced anti-Islam film that surfaced in the United States.


"US citizens visiting Kashmir should leave immediately as the sentiments of the Muslims have been hurt by these pictures," the Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, Bashiruddin Ahmad said Thursday, according to the Press Trust of India.

"Everyone accepts the greatness of the Prophet and any attempt to malign his image will not be tolerated," the news agency quoted him as saying.

A small group of protesters gathered peacefully on Thursday in the city of Srinagar in Kashmir to denounce the film, but police were on standby for the possibility of unrest after prayers on Friday.

Four people died in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Thursday as violence once again flared outside US embassies in the Middle East and North Africa over the low-budget film.

The deaths followed the killing of US diplomat and three colleagues in Syria Tuesday, after a mob stormed the consulate in Benghazi.

India is home to a Muslim population estimated at about 150 million, according to census data.

Muslim-majority Kashmir is a picturesque Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan where a two-decade separatist war has raged on the Indian side.