Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center
Final Two Victims of Attack on Libyan Consulate identified
The State Department has identified the other two Americans who were killed this week in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said they were Tyrone S. Woods (left) and Glen A. Doherty, former Navy Seals who provided security at the consulate.
Since 2010, Mr. Woods had protected American diplomatic personnel in posts from Central America to the Middle East. Ms. Clinton said he was a registered nurse and paramedic. He leaves his wife, Dorothy, and three sons, Tyrone Jr., Hunter and infant Kai.
Mr. Doherty also was a paramedic and had protected Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. He leaves his father, Bernard, his mother, Barbara, a brother, Gregory, and sister, Kathleen.
Republican leadership has intensified its attack on the Obama administration’s handling of the current volatile situation in the Middle East, with one of its top leaders arguing that the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi was “an act of war” and not “senseless violence”.
“These are not acts of senseless violence. These are acts of war,” Newt Gingrich, former speaker to the US House of Representatives and a former Republican presidential candidate, said in an op-ed to Politico magazine.
Gingrich alleged that the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were not killed by a senseless mob, but by a purposeful group of men armed with sophisticated weapons.
“These killers had tracked Ambassador Chris Stevens down to the US consulate Benghazi, where he was much more vulnerable to attack and had less protection. They waged a coordinated, military-style assault,” Gingrich said.
Senator John McCain said that the US is paying a heavy price for Obama’s “feckless” foreign policy. “What this is all about is American weakness and the president’s inability to lead,” McCain said on NBC’s ‘Today’ show.
“Iraq is dissolving. Our relations with Israel are at a tension point. I’d like to see the president of the US speak out for once for the 20,000 people that are being massacred in Syria. There’s an absence of American leadership in the region and they are very weak,” McCain said.
“The fact is the United States in the Middle East is weak and we are paying the price for that weakness. There is a lack of leadership there, and that’s what I would be talking about, and I hope that Mitt Romney will be looking at the big picture,” McCain told MSNBC news.
Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, senior member on Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced a resolution on Thursday calling for US aid to Egypt and Libya be suspended until the President can certify that each government is providing a necessary level of protection to US embassies and personnel.
“When you attack an embassy, you attack America,” said Inhofe.
“Host countries have a responsibility for the safety of our personnel. Unfortunately, we lost four patriots yesterday (on Wednesday), including Ambassador Chris Stevens, and justice must be brought for their deaths. The safety of our embassy personnel continues to be threatened,” he said.
The killings of the US ambassador to Libya and three of his staff were likely to have been the result of a serious and continuing security breach.
American officials believe the attack was planned, but Chris Stevens had been back in the country only a short while and the details of his visit to Benghazi, where he and his staff died, were meant to be confidential.
The US administration is now facing a crisis in Libya. Sensitive documents have gone missing from the consulate in Benghazi and the supposedly secret location of the “safe house” in the city, where the staff had retreated, came under sustained mortar attack. Other such refuges across the country are no longer deemed “safe”.
Some of the missing papers from the consulate are said to list names of Libyans who are working with Americans, putting them potentially at risk from extremist groups, while some of the other documents are said to relate to oil contracts.
According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and “lockdown”, under which movement is severely restricted.
Mr Stevens had been on a visit to Germany, Austria and Sweden and had just returned to Libya when the Benghazi trip took place with the US embassy’s security staff deciding that the trip could be undertaken safely.
Eight Americans, some from the military, were wounded in the attack which claimed the lives of Mr Stevens, Sean Smith, an information officer, and two US Marines. All staff from Benghazi have now been moved to the capital, Tripoli, and those whose work is deemed to be non-essential may be flown out of Libya.
Officials in Libya said last night they had arrested several suspects over the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed ambassador Chris Stevens and three other US nationals.
The country’s Deputy Interior Minister, Wanis al-Sharef, declined to give any details of the number of people in custody or their backgrounds “so as not to hamper the smooth running of the investigation”.
“The Interior and Justice ministries have begun their investigations and evidence-gathering and some people have been arrested,” Mr Sharef said late last night.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon condemned the anti-Islam film that depicted Prophet Muhammad in an unfavorable light and accused its creators of trying to encourage bloodshed.
The UN’s spokeswoman stated that Ban was “deeply troubled” by the riots that broke out around US embassies in Libya and other Middle Eastern states, noting there was no justification for “such murderous violence.”
The Obama administration is now bracing for another potential eruption of violent demonstrations in parts of the Muslim world after Friday’s weekly prayers — traditionally a time of protest in the Middle East and North Africa.
Angry demonstrations over an anti-Islam video already have occurred in Egypt and Yemen, and officials theorize that well-armed Libyan extremists hijacked a similar protest in Benghazi, where several Libyan security guards also were killed. The U.S. put all of its diplomatic missions overseas on high alert, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered an explicit denunciation of the video as the administration sought to pre-empt further turmoil at its embassies and consulates.
“The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video,” she said before a meeting with the foreign minister of Morocco at the State Department. “We absolutely reject its content and message.”
“To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible,” Clinton said. “It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage.”
U.S. officials said they suspect that the attack at the Benghazi consulate, which had also been the target of an unsuccessful attack in June, may have been only tangentially related to the film.
They also stressed there had been no advance warning or intelligence to suggest a threat in Libya that would warrant boosting security, even on the 11th anniversary of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“As we did with all of our missions overseas, in advance of the September 11 anniversary and as we do every year, we did evaluate the threat stream and we determined that the security at Benghazi was appropriate for what we knew,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
The intelligence leading up to the attacks will be examined to “see if there was any way of forecasting this violence,” as in any violent incident, House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in an interview Thursday. But he said the focus now “has to be on finding out who is responsible and bringing them to justice.”
President Barack Obama, speaking a campaign event in Golden, Colorado, also vowed that the perpetrators would be punished.
“I want people around the world to hear me,” he said. “To all those who would do us harm: No act of terror will go unpunished. I will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world. No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America.”
As of Thursday morning, there was no intelligence indicating that what happened in Benghazi was planned, according to two U.S. officials briefed on the investigation into the attack. Intelligence officials said they believe it’s more likely that the attack was “opportunistic or spontaneous,” with militants taking advantage of the demonstration to launch the assault. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly.
There is also no evidence that the attack was tied to 9/11, one of the officials said. But the Libyan-based militant group Ansar al Sharia is the leading suspect for carrying out the violence, possibly with help from al-Qaida’s main African-based offshoot, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. The officials said it may be hard to determine definitively which group was responsible, because many militants are members of both.
Libyan officials arrested an unspecified number of militants suspected of taking part in the attack and they were closely monitoring others to see whether they are linked to a group.
Despite the belief that the militants who hit the consulate did so separately from the protests over the film, U.S. officials are deeply concerned that extremists may take advantage of non-violent demonstrations to copycat the Benghazi raid, or that otherwise peaceful protesters may be incited to attack because of the video, particularly on Friday.
It’s virtually impossible to predict when a crowd might form and turn violent, according to retired U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, who served as chief of mission at five posts, including Iraq, and is a former director of national intelligence.
“These things can be mobilized on the spur of the moment, set off by a spark,” especially in places such as Egypt and Libya where the ruling strongmen have just fallen, Negroponte said Thursday. “When you get rid of authoritarian regimes, there’s little or no institutional framework left. …That’s why there’s disorder and chaos” that is so easily hijacked, he said.
The White House said it was prepared for more protests but stressed that any violence would be unjustified.
“It is important to note that as these protests are taking place in different countries around the world, responding to the movie, that Friday, tomorrow, has historically been a day when there are protests in the Muslim world,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters in Colorado. “And we are watching very closely for developments that could lead to more protests. We anticipate that they may continue.”
While rejecting the content of the video, Clinton stressed that no matter how offensive it is, the film cannot be used as an excuse for violence like that seen in Egypt, where a mob breached the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Wednesday, and in Yemen, where demonstrators tried to storm the embassy compound in Sana on Thursday.
“There is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence,” Clinton said. “We condemn the violence that has resulted in the strongest terms. … It is especially wrong for violence to be directed against diplomatic missions. These are places whose very purpose is peaceful: to promote better understanding across countries and cultures.”
She then reminded foreign governments that they have a responsibility to protect embassies.
Around the world, U.S. missions issued warnings to Americans about demonstrations that could turn violent. More than 50 embassies and consulates have released such alerts since Wednesday, the State Department said.
The Taliban advised all religious scholars in Afghanistan “to fully inform the masses about such barbaric acts of America in their sermons and to prepare them for a lengthy struggle” in the wake of the “Innocence of Muslims” film.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan condemns with the strongest of words insult towards the great Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa, perpetrated in a screening in an American cinema with the authorization of its government,” the Taliban said in an English-language statement. “…Such revolting actions are not acts of individuals but rather are activities done with the approval or even directly by the government.”
“We, as the staunch defenders of Islam, make it very clear to the American regime as well as its rebellious transgressing individuals that such actions will not bring you any closer to your malicious goals but vice-versa; it shall further unveil the true satanic face of your government especially to the Muslims and will drive the Muslim world to communally respond with an appropriate reaction,” the Taliban warned.
“The bestial natured America has violated the religious, ideological, national and cultural sanctums of various countries and nations in its dark history and has allowed such irresponsible acts to flourish in its country therefore the international community and specifically the Muslim nations and countries should join hands and create an unbreakable alliance against this common enemy in order quickly respond to these evil elements with an appropriate and stern reaction and to contain these gross offences.”
Raising further questions, Los Angeles County officials Thursday pulled the permit for the film from public view.
Meanwhile, the man believed to be behind an anti-Muslim film that sparked outrage in the Middle East lives in an upper-middle-class home on a cul de sac in Cerritos, California, where he shot footage for at least part of the film.
Federal authorities say the shadowy figure behind the film is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, a Cerritos man once convicted of financial crimes and prohibited from using computers or the Internet as part of his sentence.
Nakoula claimed the name Sam Bacile in interviews with the media.
Roughly 50 to 60 reporters and videographers descended on the neighborhood near Bloomfield Avenue, some bringing folding chairs and satellite dishes. The “Today” show is also filming there.
Deputies are there to contain the crowd.
A group in Toronto says it wants to screen a controversial film that depicts the prophet Muhammad as a womanizer and a madman.
Canadian Hindu Advocacy spokesman Ron Banerjee says he doesn’t yet have a location for a screening.
Excerpts from the movie enraged Islamic protesters in Egypt, Libya and Yemen over its portrayal of Muhammad.
Banerjee says they’ll also show snippets from other movies that are offensive to Christians and Hindus.
He calls it a way of fighting intolerance.
Banerjee was also behind a protest targeting students at Valley Park Middle School last year.
For three years, hundreds of students had been praying in the school’s cafeteria during their lunch hour. The school doesn’t run or pay for the service.
Banerjee called the prayers “part of the Islamification of society.”
The Toronto District School Board defended the sessions, saying it was accommodating the religious beliefs of its many Muslim students, as mandated by the Ontario Human Rights Code.
It said the issue is not one about religion in schools but about religious accommodation.
Israel: Thousands of police and border police are to be deployed from the early hours on Friday morning in sensitive locations around the city, including near the Temple Mount.
Following the unrest in the Muslim world over an obscure American film that ridicules the prophet Mohammed, security officials in Jerusalem will be on high alert on Friday.
Thousands of police are to be deployed from the early hours on Friday morning in sensitive locations around the city. Police and border police forces will be stationed near the Temple Mount, in an effort to maintain order as Muslims gather there for Friday prayers. Officers will also be in alleyways of the Old City, other Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem and in areas in which Arab and Jewish neighborhoods meet.
Police have vowed to quash any attempt to disturb the peace. The caution comes against the backdrop of violence in the Arab world, including in Egypt, Yemen and Libya, where U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed on Tuesday. The violence may have been sparked by an anti-Muslim film, “Innocence of Muslims.”
The U.S. consulate general in Jerusalem issued an advisory that the Old City would be off limits to U.S. government personnel today due to the possibility of demonstrations against the film, and advised other Americans to “defer non-essential travel to the Old City” and to be generally careful.
Initial news reports said the film was produced by a man who identified himself as Sam Bacile, an Israeli Jew living in the United States. But those reports were later discredited. It now seems Bacile is actually an American Coptic Christian named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.
On Thursday, deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson slammed the initial reports that a Jew was involved. “This film has nothing to do with Israel. The people who produced it, who, it is now apparent, do not include Israelis or Jews, have nothing to do with us,” Hirschson told the German news agency DPA.
“The content of the film is beneath contempt, it is a vile film,” he said, adding that Israel did not know anything about the alleged director of the film. “We have no knowledge that this supposed person is Israeli,” he said.
In the U.S., the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League also expressed concern over the media’s coverage of the story.
The website theatlantic.com quoted a Christian activist, Steve Klein, who supposedly worked as a consultant on the film, as saying that Bacile was not Israeli or Jewish and that his name was a pseudonym.
Demonstrations were held in Gaza City and in Tel Aviv yesterday to protest the film. Witnesses in Gaza City said several dozen protesters burned American and Israeli flags and chanted, “Death to America! Death to Israel!” They also burned black-and-white pictures of the film’s presumed producer.
Some men waved black flags of the Popular Resistance Committees, a radical armed faction.
The protests took place near the headquarters of UN agencies such as UNRWA, which assists Palestinian refugees, and the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. International organizations shut their offices for 24 hours as a precautionary measure.
In Tel Aviv, several dozen members of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch protested outside the American embassy. Protesters carried signs denouncing the film. Protesters claimed that the U.S. government sponsors “little people” who hurt Islam and Muslims.
The movement’s southern branch was scheduled to hold a similar protest today in Rahat on Friday.
Australia: In a new conference, Hizb ut-Tahrir refused to condemn the killing of the US ambassador and other diplomats in Libya.
”If you light fires overseas, flares will come,” said the media representative for Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia, Uthman Badar.
Mr Badar said he was not interested in ”superficial rhetoric” about victims because that ignored the root cause of terrorism: Western aggression against Muslims.
Mr Badar said of the YouTube video that mocked Allah and reportedly provoked the US embassy killings in Libya: ”Insulting the prophet will not be tolerated. Those who justify this in the name of freedom of expression put themselves offside with 2 billion Muslims around the world.
”They should hold themselves accountable for the consequences that this brings.”
India: The government is likely to ban on Internet a controversial film deemed offensive to Islam that has sparked anti-US protests.
Government officials said efforts are afoot to ban any offending anti-Islam videos which may be uploaded on the Internet and the Computer Emergency Response Team India has been asked to take immediate action.
Raising alarm, the Jammu and Kashmir government has asked the Centre to block the controversial video on social networking sites fearing it could trigger law and problem in the Muslim-majority state.
Government sources said the home ministry has forwarded the request sent by the Jammu and Kashmir government to block all Web pages where the film is available to director-general of Computer Emergency Response Team India for urgent action.
Pakistan: Authorities today blocked access to a clip of an anti-Islam movie that has triggered protests across the Muslim world even as hardline groups like the Jamaat-ud-Dawah announced plans to organise demonstrations against it.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority blocked pages on YouTube and other video sharing websites that had a clip from the controversial movie.
PTA officials told the media they had been directed by the Information Technology Ministry this afternoon to block the video.
Action was taken to block every Internet link that features the offensive video, the officials said.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority had been directed to ban the anti-Islam movie’s trailer across the country.
No one would be allowed to project such hate content against the Prophet, he told reporters outside the parliament.
Bangladesh: About 1,000 Muslims tried to march on the US embassy in Dhaka on Thursday to protest against a US film that is said to insult Islam but security forces stopped them reaching the mission, police and witnesses said.
The members of the Khelafat Andolon group demonstrated in the capital and threatened to step up their protests after they were blocked from approaching the US embassy. There were no reports of violence.
“We will stage bigger protests over the issue and may also besiege the US embassy,” said Moulana Hemayetuddin, a senior leader of the group.
Malaysia: Muslims held demonstrations across Malaysia on Friday, calling for the United States to prevent distribution of an anti-Islam film.
Friday marked the first, albeit peaceful, demonstrations in Muslim-majority Malaysia.
They included a group of about 30 people representing various Islamic organizations who marched to the US embassy in the capital Kuala Lumpur.
They handed over a memo to an embassy official calling for the US to take the clip off YouTube, prevent it being released, and to try the filmmakers for “crimes against human rights” and “inciting Muslims”.
A crowd also held a demonstration at the Batu Caves, a popular tourist spot outside the capital, and Malaysian media reported another protest in the northern city of Ipoh.
The opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party said protests would be held at other cities around the country but could not immediately confirm how widespread they were. There have been no reports of violence.
Indonesia: Outside the US embassy in the Indonesian capital, the protesters — men and women with children in tow — carried banners that read “We condemn the insult against Allah’s messenger”, and the Koranic verse “There is no God but Allah”.
A speaker from the pro-Caliphate organization Hizb ut-Tahrir that organised the protest, told the crowd: “This film insulted our prophet and we condemn it. The film is a declaration of war.”
The crowd shouted back: “Allahu akbar!” (God is greatest), while police clad in riot gear stood guard nearby.
Another speaker declared: “The US does not deserve to stay here,” as the crowd roared that Americans be expelled from the world’s largest Muslim nation.
Jakarta police spokesman Rikwanto, who goes by one name, said about 400 policemen had been deployed to guard security around the US Embassy in Jakarta. A strong police contingent, including dozens in riot gear, stood guard before the embassy grounds.
The embassy posted a new security message for US citizens on its website, saying that in light of the protests “we strongly encourage you to follow good personal security practices, maintain a heightened situational awareness, and remain vigilant of your surroundings at all times”.
Turkey: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said that an insult on the high values of Islam and Holy Prophet Muhammad could not be branded freedom of expression or beliefs.
Speaking to reporters in Yalta city of Ukraine, Erdogan stressed that insults on religions, prophets and sacred values of humans could not be viewed as freedom of ideas or criticism.
The film against Islam was an open provocation and was shot with enmity, Erdogan underlined.
“I want to remind the Muslims of the world one more time. The film was a serious provocation and highly serious instigation. Those who have resorted to violence after the instigation have provocation against the Muslims,” Erdogan also said.
Yemen: Security forces have fired warning shots and used water cannons against hundreds of protesters near the U.S. embassy in Sanaa on Friday, a day after demonstrators angered by a film deemed blasphemous to Islam stormed the fortified compound.
Early on Friday, military police and the Yemeni army had blocked off all streets leading to the U.S. embassy, but demonstrators still gathered, brandishing placards and shouting slogans against the film.
“Today is your last day, ambassador!”, and “America is the devil”, some placards read.
Local media reported on Friday that a group of U.S. marines had flown into Sanaa’s international airport on Thursday to bolster the embassy’s security. A spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Sanaa declined to comment on the reports.
Iraq: Hundreds took to streets in Iraq on Thursday, castigating an inflammatory anti-Islamic video and the nation where it was produced, the United States.
Angry protesters in the Sadr City district of northeast Baghdad carried banners, Iraqi flags and images of radical Shiite and anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as they railed against what they see as an insult to their faith.
“America is the enemy of the people,” the demonstrators shouted Thursday morning. They also yelled out, “Yes, yes to Islam. Yes, yes to Iraq. Yes, yes to Quran” — the latter referring to the Muslim holy book.
Some protesters burned an American flag, while another put a U.S. flag on the ground and stepped on it to express his anger. Sabbar al-Saeidi, a member of Baghdad’s provincial council, condemned the “Innocence of Muslims” film and called for the closing of U.S. embassies in all Arab and predominantly Muslim countries.
“Since (Americans) did not respect more than 1 billion Muslims all over the world, I call on all Muslim and Arab countries to launch an economic and diplomatic boycott of America and its agents,” said one protester, Abbass Qahtan.
Iran: A crowd of 400 has gathered outside the Swiss Embassy in Tehran to protest against the American-made film denigrating the Prophet Muhammad that has sparked outrage in the world’s Muslim community.
“Death to the United States and death to Israel and death to England!” was heard over a loudspeaker outside the Swiss diplomatic mission, which represents American diplomatic interests in Iran, following the breakup of diplomatic ties in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Riot police have cordoned off the are, causing traffic jams around the capital as the crowd voiced support for demonstrations in Egypt, Lebanon, Libya and Tunisia. Shouts of “Muslims, unite!” and “Mohammad is God’s prophet” were heard.
Reacting to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s claims that “the United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that “if American politicians are honest in their claims that they were not involved, they have to hold responsible those who committed this obscene crime … and their financial supporters,” Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying in a statement.
A day earlier, Iran’s Foreign Ministry condemned the “repulsive” film, deeming it offensive to Islam, and calling on Washington to take action.
“The US government’s systematic and continued silence on such repulsive acts is the fundamental reason that they keep happening, The American government has the responsibility to stop this dangerous trend in the spreading of insults to Islamic Umma’s highest sanctities,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in a statement.
Kuwait: About 500 demonstrators gathered Thursday near the U.S. embassy in Kuwait waving a black Al-Qaeda flag in protest at a film mocking Islam.
President Barack “Obama, we are all Osama,” they chanted referring to Al-Qaeda’s former leader Osama bin Laden who was killed by U.S. forces last year, an AFP photographer at the site of the demonstration reported.
The protesters gathered around 500 meters (yards) away from the U.S. embassy after police forces, heavily deployed in the area, stopped them from reaching the mission.
The demonstrators were joined by five Islamist lawmakers as they called for expelling the U.S. ambassador in the Gulf country.
“The people want to expel the ambassador,” they chanted, as one of their banners read: “USA… respect us.”
Egypt: The Muslim Brotherhood has called for a million-man demonstration on Friday [September 14] in protest of a film that insults the Prophet Muhammad. A number of Coptic Egyptian immigrants in the United States took part in the production of the amateur YouTube video. Clashes between protesters and Egyptian Central Security Forces continued near the U.S. embassy in central Cairo on Friday as demonstrators insisted on voicing their rage over a film produced in the U.S. that mocks Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.
Muslim Brotherhood youths announced on their Facebook pages their solidarity with calls for the demonstration, saying they would participate in it despite a formal decision made by the party not to call for protests. Coptic priests nationwide rejected the offensive film, stressing that religious symbols are a red line.
Torrents of teargas continued to greet the hundreds of protesters still hurling stones at Central Security Forces deployed around the U.S. embassy’s precincts. Protesters have been throwing stones and lighting fires and police have been trying to clear the crowds with tear gas.
The protest was attended by leaders of Islamic movements, most notably Mohammad al-Zawahiri, brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri; a number of sons of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the Emir of the Gamaa Islamiyya group; Sheikh Gamal Saber, coordinator of the Hazimoun movement and Sheikh Abu-Yahya al-Masri, spokesman for the Salafist “Voice of Wisdom Coalition,” which called for the protests.
Zawahiri said that the US government’s response — by issuing a statement through its embassy in Cairo condemning the producers of the video that insults the Prophet — was not enough. He added that the filmmakers should be arrested and brought to trial, like Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was falsely accused of slander and inciting violence.
Gamal Saber, coordinator of the Hazimoun movement and co-founder of the Egyptian Umma Party, said that there is ongoing coordination between Islamic and revolutionary forces to organize a million-man demonstration in the event of the film being aired in the United States. He said that the forces are demanding that US citizenship be revoked from the Coptic Egyptian immigrants involved in the production of the film and that they be prevented from entering Egypt.
They also called for the severing of all relations with the United States and withdrawing the Egyptian ambassador from Washington, since the United States has once more allowed pastor Terry Jones — who had previously burned the Koran three times — to insult the Prophet.
Nigeria: A group of Muslims in the troubled city of Jos, Plateau State, yesterday evening held a demonstration over an America-produced film that purportedly blasphemed Prophet Muhammad.
The protesters, who defied security agents, said they would rather die than to watch their Prophet insulted, and will submit only to the laws of Allah which, to them, are supreme to any other law.
The mostly youth and children protesters, who numbered almost 100 were led by one Malam Mansur Sani Adamu in the demonstration, which took place on Bauchi Road. They carried placards condemning the United States, Israel, Denmark and Holland, accusing them of plotting against Islam and Muslims. Before they dispersed, they chanted, “Allahuakubar, Allahuakubar, they have touched our Prophet.”
Security agencies urged the protesters to disperse since they had not secured permission, to which leader of the demonstration responded, “If our Prophet is blasphemed we will not wait for any law, Islam supersede any laws of the country.”
An incendiary video about the prophet Muhammad, “Innocence of Muslims,” was blamed for the mob attacks on our embassies in Libya and Egypt (and later, Yemen). In Libya, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were murdered. The video stirred some passion here in America as well.
Over at MSNBC, contributors Mike Barnicle and Donny Deutsch, plus University of Pennsylvania professor Anthea Butler, all agreed that the people behind the video should be indicted as accessories to murder.
“Declared Butler: “How soon is Sam Bacile [the alleged creator of the film] going to be in jail folks? I need him to go now.”
Barnicle set his sights on Terry Jones, the pastor who wanted to burn the Koran a while back and who was allegedly involved in the video as well. “Given this supposed minister’s role in last year’s riots in Afghanistan, where people died, and given his apparent or his alleged role in this film, where . . . at least one American, perhaps the American ambassador is dead, it might be time for the Department of Justice to start viewing his role as an accessory before or after the fact.”
It’s interesting to see such committed liberals in lockstep agreement with the Islamist government in Egypt, which implored the US government to take legal action against the filmmakers.
Now, I have next to no sympathy for the makers of this film. But where does this logic end? One thing we’ve learned all too well is that the “Muslim street” has a near-limitless capacity to take offense at slights to their religion, honor, history or feelings.
Does Barnicle want Salman Rushdie, the author of “The Satanic Verses,” charged with attempted murder, too? That book has in one way or another led to several deaths. Perhaps the Justice Department and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security could work on a joint prosecution?
Perhaps Rushdie’s offense doesn’t count because he’s a literary celebrity? Only crude attacks on Islam should be held accountable for the murderous bloodlust they elicit.
But who’s to decide what is crude and what is refined? We know the real answer: the Islamist mobs and their leaders. Their rulings would come in the form of bloody conniptions around the world.
Are we really going to hold what we can say or do in our own country hostage to the passions of foreign lynch mobs?
If your answer is some of form “yes,” you might want to explain why US citizens aren’t justified in attacking Egyptian or Libyan embassies here in America.
After all, I get pretty mad when I see goons burning the American flag, and I become downright livid when a US ambassador is murdered. Maybe me and some of my like-minded friends should burn down some embassies here in Washington, DC?
Of course we shouldn’t. Yet to argue that Americans shouldn’t resort to mayhem, while suggesting it’s understandable when Muslims do, is to create a double standard that either renders Muslims unaccountable savages or casts Americans as somehow less passionate about what we hold dear, be it our flag, our diplomats or our religions. (It’s hardly as if Islamists don’t defame Christianity, Judaism or even atheism.)
But that may be the case. After all, with barely a moment’s thought these MSNBC deep thinkers were willing to throw out the First Amendment for a little revenge.
Within 24 hours, however, it became increasingly clear that the video wasn’t even the motive for the murders; it was a convenient cover for them. In effect, the terrorists behind the Libyan attack not only successfully played the Muslim street for suckers, they played Barnicle & Co. for suckers, too.
Anti-American Protests Seen as Tip of the Islamist Iceberg, by Patrick Martin
In the wake of the deadly attacks on Americans in Libya and disappointment in Washington with Egypt, experts say it’s just the tip of the iceberg of unrest across the Muslim world.
Anti-American protests have spread since Tuesday night when mobs swarmed the U.S. embassy in Cairo and the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and they show no signs of abating. Protesters say they object to a U.S.-made film that denigrates the Islamic Prophet Mohammed but, behind the lines, a much larger motive has propelled the organizers to take action.
“Make no mistake,” said Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Israel, “this is a war, not a misunderstanding. It is a battle of ideologies and a struggle for control of state power, not hurt feelings over some obscure video.”
Sunni Islamic extremists in both Libya and Egypt are looking to take control, using the post-revolutionary chaos in both countries to their advantage.
In Libya, as the International Crisis Group notes in a report to be released Friday, “armed Islamist militias influenced by al-Qaeda are growing ever stronger in and around eastern Libya, raising fears about the country’s stability and the likelihood of further deadly attacks like the one that just killed the U.S. ambassador.”
These Islamists, broadly known as Salafi jihadists, did not contest seats in parliamentary elections in July, believing, as they do, that there is only one law, that of God as recorded by Mohammed, and no need for any parliament passing other laws.
They are using other means, now, to press their case.
“They see Americans as patrons of a regime they don’t like,” the American-born Mr. Rubin said. “They don’t want to thank us for helping liberate them; they want to run us out of the region entirely.”
As bad as that may be for U.S. interests in Libya, much more is on the line in Egypt, another post-revolutionary state where Salafists are taking a similar anti-American tack and the country’s Muslim Brotherhood President, Mohamed Morsi, is walking a fine line.
The Salafists are trying to embarrass the Brotherhood, Mr. Rubin says. They are trying to out them as supporters of the “anti-Muslim” United States.
Indeed, the ruling Brotherhood doesn’t want to lose U.S. support – financial and military – but they don’t want to be embarrassed by their Salafist competition.
Mr. Morsi, who appeared in public on Thursday in Brussels to answer questions about the storming of the U.S. embassy Tuesday, reserved his strongest language to attack the contentious film rather than to apologize for, or to condemn, the assault on the embassy.
“In Egypt and everywhere in the Arab world there is anger,” Mr. Morsi said, adding that he had pressed U.S. President Barack Obama on the scurrilous nature of the film during a phone conversation Wednesday.
“[But,] it is our duty to protect our guests and visitors from abroad,” he added.
“The freedom to express opinions and demonstrate … are guaranteed, but without attacks on private or public property, diplomatic missions or embassies,” he said.
The U.S. administration is still waiting to see which way the political wind is blowing in Egypt: Just how far will the Muslim Brotherhood leadership go to satisfy U.S. interests? In the meantime, in an interview Thursday, Mr. Obama underlined the growing testiness between Washington and Cairo when he tried to describe the new Egyptian regime: “I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy,” was how he put it.
For her part, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went out of her way to denounce the film that appears to have sparked the protests, describing it as “disgusting and reprehensible.”
However, in a comment that appeared to be directed at Mr. Morsi, she added: “We all, whether we are leaders in government, leaders in civil society or religious leaders, must draw the line at violence. … Any responsible leader should be standing up now and drawing that line.”
The protests that now threaten to spread across the Muslim world are the tip of an iceberg, says Alastair Crooke, a former MI6 analyst and specialist in the Islamic world. He argues that even the recent increase in attacks in Iraq, along with those in Syria being directed against the Assad regime, are the work of the same kind of Sunni extremists, seeking to take power in those two countries.
“It’s a region-wide phenomenon,” Mr. Crooke said.
“There is a battle going on in the Middle East that will continue for decades,” Mr. Rubin says.