Politics: US embassies in Cairo and Libya attacked by ‘ultra-conservative Islamists’

Published by: Robert Laurie on Tuesday September 11th, 2012

Robert Laurie

By ROBERT LAURIE – U.S. issues statement condemning those who have “hurt the feelings of Muslims”

This morning, according to an AP report, an angry mob of what the news agency called “2,000 ultra-conservative Islamists” surrounded the U.S. embassy in Cairo. They were there to protest a film, made by Coptic-Christian Egyptians with funding from Florida’s anti-Muslim pastor, Terry Jones.  The movie itself is a Dutch production.

You may remember the pastor Jones from a controversial incident last year, where he was jailed after threatening to burn a Quran in Dearborn, Michigan.

Allegedly, the film shows the prophet Muhammad having sex, and questions whether he is actually the messenger of God’s word. 

 What began as a peaceful protest began to turn ugly when fireworks – which sounded like gunfire – were set off in the crowd.  About twenty of the protesters scaled the embassy walls, tore down the American flag, and shredded it.  In its place, they attempted to raise a black flag that read "There's no God but God and Muhammad is the prophet of God."

A few hours later, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was attacked by an armed mob who fired their weapons into the air before setting the building on fire. Allegedly, the assault was also in response to the offending movie. Details on this incident are still sketchy, but it has been confirmed by the U.S. embassy in Tripoli.  Witnesses claim that much of the facility has been destroyed.   

For its part, the Cairo embassy has released a rather mealy-mouthed statement.

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”

Considering the fact that Hollywood has been making movies that both doubt and sexualize Jesus for thirty years - without a hint of federal condemnation - it's at best an odd message.

No word yet on whether they condemn the actions of violent mobs.