One amateurish video, showing an actor portraying the Prophet Muhammad, has ignited a rash of attacks on US embassies in the Middle East.
US Ambassador, Chris Stevens, was among an alleged four officials killed at the US embassy in Libya and last night an angry mob stormed Washington’s base in Egypt.
Stevens was known as a supporter of the revolution in Libya, having acted as the US representative to the transitional national council. He said he considered himself very fortunate to live in the North African nation during this “period of hope and change.”
Libyan Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Mustafa Abushagur, put out a statement this afternoon, calling the attacks “barbaric”:
“Ambassador Stevens was a friend of Libya…. This is an attack on America, Libya and free people everywhere”, he said.
Libyans reacted to the attacks with anger online and a counter-protest is planned for this afternoon in Benghazi.
“I feel sick to my stomach… Libyans we need to unite against ignorance and evil,” said one Libyan tweep.
“I can’t even tweet. Speechless. You don’t protest against a piece of c*** film by killing and burning,” wrote another.
The reaction from extremists is reminiscent of those following the Danish cartoon, depicting the Prophet as a terrorist. Middle Eastern Muslims, for the most part, were keen to condemn the attacks on the US embassy although some called for a law to criminalize religious insults like those in the video.
Syrian activists were quick to point out that regime forces had destroyed mosques in Damascus and Aleppo without inspiring the same reaction.
The video in question shows the Prophet Muhammad as a village idiot, who is given false testimony, which he then uses to build a cult. In the movie he is portrayed as an opportunist, a pedophile and a homosexual.
Egyptian Coptic Christians living in the US were said to be behind the production and distribution of the film, which is clearly designed to insult Muslims all over the world.
In an effort to calm relations between Christians and Muslims in Egypt, Christian Egyptian businessman Ibrahim Zaki Luqa, today said he would be making a video of his own defending the life of the Prophet Muhammad.
However the fallout from the movie continues and the lack of security at the US embassies in both Benghazi and Cairo reflects poorly on the new democratic governments in Libya and Egypt.
Libya has fallen victim to a number of attacks recently by Salafi extremists upset with the moderate line of the new government. Sufi mosques have been bulldozed and graves vandalized.
Activists from both countries blamed the deaths in part on their governments’ inability to tackle the problem of religious extremism head on.
What do you think about the video? Does it justify the attacks on embassy officials? Tell us what you think below.
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