“One American official was killed and another injured in the hand. The other staff members were evacuated and are safe and sound,” Libya’s deputy interior minister Wanis al-Sharif told AFP. The identity of the US official killed is not yet known. The consular worker was reported to have been shot. [BBC]
AS AMERICA commemorated 9/11, all hell broke loose in Egypt and Libya with protests and militants attacking, leaving one American diplomat confirmed dead, over a film that is directly targeting the Muslim faith, which is directed and produced by Sam Bacile, who calls Islam “a cancer,” saying “The movie is a political movie. It’s not a religious movie.”
Max Fisher of The Atlantic has confirmed through Kurt Wurthmuller, whom Fisher describes as a Coptic specialist at the Hudson Institute, that the clip above is authentic.
— Liam Stack (@liamstack) September 11, 2012
The film is being promoted by the infamous Terry Jones, the man responsible for the Afghanistan uprising after he threatened to burn a Koran. Also involved are a few conservative Coptic Christians in the U.S., though the church itself condemned the film, with Morris Sadek, leader of one group of U.S. Coptics, telling the Wall Street Journal, “The violence that it caused in Egypt is further evidence of how violent the religion and people are and it is evidence that everything in the film is factual.”
Coptic Christians are a minority in Egypt and subject to violence and persecution.
From the Wall Street Journal tonight, which is a must read report:
The movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” was directed and produced by an Israeli-American real-estate developer who characterized it as a political effort to call attention to the hypocrisies of Islam. It has been promoted by Terry Jones, the Florida pastor whose burning of Qurans previously sparked deadly riots around the world.
[...] Hours after nightfall, dozens of young men remained standing on top of the embassy walls, shouting into megaphones. One of the youths climbed up the flagpole to hoist a black banner emblazoned with the Muslim profession of faith in white letters—”There is no God but God and Muhammad is His Messenger”—a standard used by hardline Islamist groups throughout the world.
[...] The flashpoint appeared to be the film about the Prophet Muhammad, portions of which in recent days have been circulating on the Internet. Contravening the Islamic prohibition of portraying the prophet, clips from the film show him not only as flesh and blood—but as a homosexual son of undetermined patrimony, who rises to advocate child slavery and extramarital sex, for himself, in the name of religion.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo released an apology, as did the Coptic Church, citing “efforts by misguided individuals to try to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims,” which the White House disavowed to Politico, reported by Byron Tau.
“The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government,” a senior administration official told POLITICO.
The U.S. Embassy has now deleted their tweet stating they stood by their statement.
The Embassy statement quickly (and predictably) caused a firestorm on the right, with Charles Krauthammer going off on FNC, saying he’d issue “a statement saying to the mob ‘Go to hell!’”
Twitter exploded in insults directed at President Obama, invoking former President Jimmy Carter, which Krauthammer set up by stating the Embassy has released “a hostage statement.”
Coming from a contagion of reporting, the Egyptians yelled “There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger,” while storming the embassy wall in fury, which is a known militant cry from true believers.
Meanwhile in Libya, from New York Times stringer on the ground, Liam Stack, re-tweeted “the US consulate in #Benghazi being looted,” reported over 4 hours ago.
This came after the American diplomat was shot and killed in the consulate, as looting and burning of the building began.
The film’s creator Mr. Bacile posted a trailer of the film in July, but it wasn’t until recently when clerics started condemning it that the furor spread.
“Obama! Obama! We are all Osama!” was heard being chanted, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The harrowing drama all unfolded on 9/11, as Americans were commemorating the attacks eleven years ago to the day.
So-called “anniversaries” have been used as special opportunities to launch reprisal attacks by terrorists against their adversaries, though there is no other reason so far found for the uprisings against U.S. interests in Egypt and Libya beyond the inflammatory anti-Muslim film by religious conservatives.
Expect presidential politics of this to make mush out of this story by the time “Fox and Friends” rolls on Wednesday.
Secretary Clinton’s statement:
“I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today. As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who have suffered in this attack.
This evening, I called Libyan President Magariaf to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya. President Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government’s full cooperation.
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.
In light of the events of today, the United States government is working with partner countries around the world to protect our personnel, our missions, and American citizens worldwide.”
UPDATE: After this article was posted, the total number of American dead was changed to four, with many Libyans killed attempting to protect the consulate.