Google has issued a rare statement around its decision to allow a controversial video on YouTube that contributed to violent clashes in Northern Africa and the Middle East to continue to be viewable -- except in Libya and Egypt.
The video shows clips from "The Innocence of Muslims," a feature-length, low-budget film that outraged conservative Muslim groups. The film portrays the prophet Mohammed as a philanderer who also condoned of child sex abuse.
Muslims consider any portrayal -- let alone an insult -- of Mohammed as extremely offensive.
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The consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was burned Tuesday during a violent protest against the film, resulting in the death of the U.S. ambassador and Bay Area native Chris Stevens and three other diplomats.
The clips also incited signficant violence in Cairo, as well, with clashes continuing into Thursday.
Google acknowledges that what is culturally controversial in some areas of the world are more tolerated in others:
"We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions. This can be a challenge because what's OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere. This video -- which is widely available on the web -- is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube.
"However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt we have temporarily restricted access in both countries. Our hearts are with the families of the people murdered in yesterday's attack in Libya."
The video, credited to Sam Bacile, uploaded the film on July 2, 2012. It was translated into Arabic and aired on Egyptian television recently.
The attacks and violent protests in the Middle East have garnered stern responses from President Obama, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.