No, you won’t see that controversial 14 minute video on my blog. It’s been linked to violence in Cairo and to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other diplomatic personnel inside the consulate in Libya yesterday by fanatics who were outraged by the video’s anti-Islam message. ABC’s report of the attack is here.
The Seattle Times reported that Ambassador Stevens spent much of his career in the Middle East, serving in Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel, where he focused on the Palestinian territories, and in State Department offices overseeing policy in the region.
Speculation abounds. Maybe the attack was planned by Al-Qaeda affiliates, and timed with the 9/11 anniversary, completely unrelated to the video.
There’s also speculation about the filmmaker. An Israeli Jew? An American Jew? An Arab Christian who is an American citizen?
Morris Sadek, head of the National American Coptic Assembly, an Egyptian Christian group based in the U.S., confirmed to Reuters that he was involved in the film’s planned distribution.
The UK Telegraph reported here that the attack in Libya followed an attack earlier in the day on the US Embassy in Cairo. No one was hurt there, but the US flag was torn down and replaced by the black flag used by radical Islamists.
Here’s my photo of the US Embassy in Cairo (August 2011).
Reuters reported that:
The violence in Benghazi and Cairo threatened to spread to other Muslim countries on Wednesday. A U.S. official said Washington had ordered the evacuation of all U.S. personnel from Benghazi to Tripoli and was reducing staffing in the capital to emergency levels.
Police fired teargas at angry demonstrators outside the U.S. embassy in Tunisia and several hundred people gathered in front of the U.S. embassy in Sudan. In Morocco, a few dozen protesters burned American flags and chanted slogans near the U.S. consulate in Casablanca.
The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory today, warning Americans in Libya to leave. And since I’m planning to travel to Gaza soon, I’m very interested in what advice the State Department might have.
The Gaza Strip and Southern Israel
The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip, which is under the control of Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization. U.S. citizens in Gaza are advised to depart immediately. The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt allows for some passenger travel, though coordination with local authorities — which could take days or weeks to process — is reportedly required. Travelers who enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing from Egypt must also exit through the Rafah crossing. The Israeli authorities do not permit such travelers to exit through the Erez crossing into Israel except in situations of extreme humanitarian need. Travelers entering the Gaza Strip may not be able to depart at a time of their choosing. Delays of days or weeks are common. U.S. citizens should be aware that as a consequence of a longstanding prohibition on travel by U.S. citizen employees of the U.S. government into the Gaza Strip, the ability of consular staff to offer timely assistance to U.S. citizens there is extremely limited, including the provision of routine consular services. Full advisory is here.
The Muhammad movie, even though it is so ridiculously amateurish, is clearly an attempt to inflame passions and incite violence. Whomever made it, for whatever ulterior motive, is a grade A ass*ole who deserves whatever justice he receives. Reportedly, he has gone into hiding.
The religious fanatics who launched a lethal attack against the US Embassy in Libya, whether in response to that video or not, are grade A ass*oles who deserve to be hunted down and brought to justice.
Government officials engaged in launching lethal drone attacks against innocent men, women and children are grade A ass*holes who deserve to be criminally prosecuted in the International Criminal Court, in my opinion.
The Muhammad Movie? That definitely ranks a grade PC for pure crap. Every peace-loving Muslim, Jew and Christian knows this is pure crap. So it’s up to us to prove that movies like this earn no currency, and are resoundingly condemned.