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Anti-Islam film spurs embassy attacks; American shot dead

By Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 04:42 a.m. HST, Sep 12, 2012


CAIRO » A movie attacking Islam’s prophet Muhammad sparked assaults on U.S. diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt today. A Libyan security official reported an American was shot to death as protesters burned the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, and in Cairo, protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy walls and replaced an American flag with an Islamic banner. 

It was the first such assaults on U.S. diplomatic facilities in either country, at a time when both Libya and Egypt are struggling to overcome the turmoil following the ouster of their longtime leaders, Moammar Gadhafi and Hosni Mubarak in uprisings last year.

The protests in both countries were sparked by outrage over a film ridiculing Muhammad produced by an American in California and being promoted by an extreme anti-Muslim Egyptian Christian campaigner in the United States.

In the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, a large mob stormed the U.S. Consulate, with gunmen firing their weapons, said Wanis al-Sharef, an Interior Ministry official in Bengazi. A witness said attackers fired automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades at the consulate they clashed with Libyans hired to guard the facility.

Outnumbered by the crowd, Libyan security forces did little to stop them, al-Sharef said. 

The crowd overwhelmed the facility and set fire to it, burning most of it and looting the contents, witnesses said.

One American was shot to death and a second was wounded in the hand, al-Sharef said. He did not give further details, and there was no immediate U.S. confirmation of the death.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed that one State Department officer had been killed in the protest at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. She strongly condemned the attack and said she had called Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif “to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya.”

Hours before the Benghazi attack, hundreds of mainly ultraconservative Islamist protesters in Egypt marched to the U.S. Embassy in downtown Cairo, gathering outside its walls and chanting against the movie and the U.S. Most of the embassy staff had left the compound earlier because of warnings of the upcoming demonstration.

“Say it, don’t fear: Their ambassador must leave,” the crowd chanted.

Dozens of protesters then scaled the embassy walls, and several went into the courtyard and took down the American flag from a pole. They brought it back to the crowd outside, which tried to burn it, but failing that tore it apart.

The protesters on the wall then raised on the flagpole a black flag with a Muslim declaration of faith, “There is no god but God and Muhammad is his prophet.” The flag, similar to the banner used by al-Qaida, is commonly used by ultraconservatives around the region.

The crowd grew throughout the evening with thousands standing outside the embassy. Dozens of riot police lined up along the embassy walls but did not stop protesters as they continued to climb and stand on the wall - though it appeared no more went into the compound.

The crowd chanted, “Islamic, Islamic. The right of our prophet will not die.” Some shouted, “We are all Osama,” referring to al-Qaida leader bin Laden. Young men, some in masks, sprayed graffiti on the walls. Some grumbled that Islamist President Mohammed Morsi had not spoken out about the movie.

A group of women in black veils and robes that left only their eyes exposed chanted, “Worshippers of the Cross, leave the Prophet Muhammad alone.”

By midnight, the crowd had dwindled. The U.S. Embassy said on its Twitter account that there will be no visa services on Wednesday because of the protests.

A senior Egyptian security official at the embassy area said authorities allowed the protest because it was “peaceful.” When they started climbing the walls, he said he called for more troops, denying that the protesters stormed the embassy. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

The Cairo embassy is in a diplomatic area in Garden City, where the British and Italian embassies are located, only a few blocks away from Tahrir Square, the center of last year’s uprising that led to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. The U.S. Embassy is built like a fortress, with a wall several yards high. But security has been scaled back in recent months, with several roadblocks leading to the facility removed after legal court cases by residents.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry promised in a statement to provide the necessary security for diplomatic missions and embassies and warned that “such incidents will negatively impact the image of stability in Egypt, which will have consequences on the life of its citizens.”

One protester, Hossam Ahmed, said he was among those who entered the embassy compound and replaced the American flag with the black one. He said the group has now removed the black flag from the pole and laid it instead on a ladder on top of the wall.

“This is a very simple reaction to harming our prophet,” said another, bearded young protester, Abdel-Hamid Ibrahim.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Egyptian police had removed the demonstrators who entered the embassy grounds. Speaking before reports of the slain American emerged, she condemned the attack on the consulate in Libya “in the strongest terms.”

Muslims find it offensive to depict Muhammad in any fashion, much less in an insulting way. The 2005 publication of 12 caricatures of the prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper triggered riots in many Muslim countries.

A 14-minute trailer of the movie that sparked the protests, posted on the website YouTube in an original English version and another dubbed into Egyptian Arabic, depicts Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman in an overtly ridiculing way, showing him having sex and calling for massacres.

A YouTube spokesman said the website would not take down the video at this point. The spokesman said the website’s policy is to remove videos that include a threat of violence, but not those only expressing opinions.

“We take great care when we enforce our policies and try to allow as much content as possible while ensuring that our Community Guidelines are followed,” the YouTube representative said. “Flagged content that does not violate our Guidelines will remain on the site.”

Sam Bacile, an American citizen who said he produced, directed and wrote the two-hour film, said he had not anticipated such a furious reaction.

“I feel sorry for the embassy. I am mad,” Bacile said.

Speaking from a telephone with a California number, Bacile said he is Jewish and familiar with the region. Bacile said the film was produced in English and he doesn't know who dubbed it in Arabic. The full film has not been shown yet, he said, and he said he has declined distribution offers for now.

"My plan is to make a series of 200 hours" about the same subject, he said.

Morris Sadek, an Egyptian-born Christian in the U.S. known for his anti-Islam views, told The Associated Press from Washington that he was promoting the video on his website and on certain TV stations, which he did not identify.

Both depicted the film as showing how Coptic Christians are oppressed in Egypt, though it goes well beyond that to ridicule Muhammad — a reflection of their contention that Islam as a religion is inherently oppressive.

"The main problem is I am the first one to put on the screen someone who is (portraying) Muhammad. It makes them mad," Bacile said. "But we have to open the door. After 9/11 everybody should be in front of the judge, even Jesus, even Muhammad."

For several days, Egyptian media have been reporting on the video, playing some excerpts from it and blaming Sadek for it, with ultraconservative clerics going on air to denounce it.

Medhat Klada, a representative of Coptic Christian organizations in Europe, said Sadek's views are not representative of expatriate Copts.

"He is an extremist ... We don't go down this road. He has incited the people (in Egypt) against Copts," he said, speaking from Switzerland. "We refuse any attacks on religions because of a moral position."

But he said he was concerned about the backlash from angry Islamists, saying their protest only promotes the movie. "They don't know dialogue and they think that Islam will be offended from a movie."







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Matsu wrote:
And exactly which film are they so insensed about?
on September 11,2012 | 02:44PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
That was what I was thinking. At least they could have provided the title so people could understand context.
on September 11,2012 | 02:47PM
Graham wrote:
What difference does it make...because someone is upset about a film...does that justify killing???
on September 11,2012 | 03:04PM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
"Your religion is bad...so we will kill you, burn your building down and then steal the contents! Our religion is better!!!"
on September 11,2012 | 05:10PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Who said it did? I'm looking for good reporting. Maybe you're satisfied withjust getting talking points and dogma, but I'm not.
on September 11,2012 | 06:19PM
false wrote:
its called "innocence of muslims"
on September 11,2012 | 10:15PM
HD36 wrote:
More people have died from religous differences than any other reason. The Annanuki will return and change religion forever.
on September 11,2012 | 03:22PM
SteveToo wrote:
I guess you say that in jest. Because if they truly existed, they and their chance and failled.
on September 11,2012 | 04:59PM
HD36 wrote:
Really? They are us and we are them.
on September 11,2012 | 08:50PM
Brixac3 wrote:
I've heard this said on many occasions, however, when I think about it, WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Korean, Iraq, Afghanistan, Stalin, Mao's Cultural Revolution, Japan Chino War, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Caesar, Napoleon, and many others had more to do with politics & power verses religion. I have a feeling that people have a natural spiritual longing and individuals who have sought power for themselves have historically used religion to control people for their own selfish gain. Just a thought. Peace!
on September 11,2012 | 10:11PM
Kalli wrote:
Why aren't U.S. Marines still assigned to guard our embassies and consulates?
on September 11,2012 | 04:01PM
islandsun wrote:
Fanatics! Criminal conduct in the name of religion. Who would even want to go there?
on September 11,2012 | 04:23PM
tobyclairmont wrote:
Where were the Marine Security Guards? An assault on our embassy, is an assault on the United States. Use deadly force to protect Americans if necessary.
on September 11,2012 | 04:27PM
aomohoa wrote:
It's been going on for thousands of year. All in the name of religion.
on September 11,2012 | 04:48PM
SteveToo wrote:
Those people are CRAZY. The war on Terrorism will never end as long as there are crazy un-educated Muslims in the world. Might even go for crazy educated Muslims as well.
on September 11,2012 | 04:57PM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
Don't forget the crazy uneducated Christians.
on September 11,2012 | 05:11PM
CloudForest wrote:
Never saw any crazy Christians, it's a myth. When a Christian gets crazy they give away bibles and feed the poor, clothe the destitute and shelter the sick. The Christians protect those whom can not protect themselves. If you can not tell the difference between good and evil you are unworthy of respect or argument.
on September 11,2012 | 06:15PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
What religion was the Oklahoma City Bomber? How about Sirhan Sirhan? Who orchestrated the Inquisition? Which head of which church ignored what Adolf Hitler was doing to the Jews?
on September 11,2012 | 07:14PM
HD36 wrote:
You never heard of the Crusades?
on September 11,2012 | 08:51PM
aomohoa wrote:
Hate to tell you but Christians have also killed in the name of religion. There are fanatics in every religion.
on September 11,2012 | 09:48PM
CloudForest wrote:
Nobody is crazier than the current crop of islamist and their willing cohorts - atheist. When you get a radical Christian you get Mother Theresa, when you get a radical islamist you osama bin laden and when you get a radical atheist you get abortion and dead children all over the globe. Only Christ can save you in this wicked world in which we all live.
on September 12,2012 | 03:58AM
patk wrote:
CloudForest you are just as dangerous and deluded as any other extremist. Stop living in denial.
on September 12,2012 | 04:26AM
CloudForest wrote:
I'm dangerous alright - to all that is evil and corrupt in this world, and if you can't tell the difference between good and evil then you are unworthy of debate.
on September 12,2012 | 07:19AM
64hoo wrote:
thats the muslim brotherhood for you. once they scaled the walls in egypt or libya there on u.s. soil we should have open fire and gunned them down because there on are soil come on you higher up military command give your men orders to shoot to kill them those are the same radicals of the muslim brotherhood that flew planes into the world trade center and the pentagon. wake up america were still at war with these fanatics lets make the first move to wipe them out before they do something again to us.
on September 11,2012 | 05:22PM
Grimbold wrote:
Hey these are the main stream average muslims. who hate us, not just the" few radical islamists". Therefore we should not allow muslims into our country where they will undermine our society and country.
on September 11,2012 | 06:12PM
aomohoa wrote:
SteveToo you are incredibly judgmental. You are saying the Muslims are terrorists. Terrorists are terrorists.
on September 11,2012 | 09:46PM
SteveToo wrote:
One more reason I don't believe in your god or theirs, or anyone's.
on September 11,2012 | 05:00PM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
God is good...it's the religions that get polluted with man's thinking.
on September 11,2012 | 05:12PM
HD36 wrote:
The religions get interpreted, and reinterpreted to suit those who gain power.
on September 11,2012 | 08:53PM
hawaiikone wrote:
So what do you believe in? Only yourself? Sad.
on September 11,2012 | 06:29PM
HollyJHuber wrote:
Religion is nothing but fantasy and fairy tales.
on September 11,2012 | 07:04PM
hawaiikone wrote:
see my response below. It's true for you as well.
on September 12,2012 | 08:58PM
patk wrote:
Religion is based purely on emotion and hearsay. Basically brainwashing. People use their faith as an irrational way to find some meaning in their lives. In the case of extremists the belief system is often a product of personal insecurity and weakness. That is sad and that is why religious fanatics attack others -- they are just such small, scared little people.
on September 12,2012 | 04:49AM
hawaiikone wrote:
The first awareness you have after you die will be quite a shock. Remember, It's never too late as long as you're still alive.
on September 12,2012 | 08:57PM
Keoniana wrote:
Ignorant Extremist , stupid US Govt giving them billions in aid
on September 11,2012 | 05:42PM
64hoo wrote:
yea 1.5 billion dollors to the muslim brotherhood.
on September 11,2012 | 05:50PM
Grimbold wrote:
The reaction of the muslims to this film shows that we cannot even have enough anti-muslim films.
on September 11,2012 | 06:09PM
Pocho wrote:
The US should get out of the MidEast and let them butcher themselves to death!
on September 11,2012 | 06:09PM
CloudForest wrote:
How about a better headline: CRAZY MOBS ATTACK AMERICAN EMBASSY FOR NO REASON
on September 11,2012 | 06:11PM
johncdechon wrote:
Embassy property is sovereign property of whatever country has that embassy -- in this case, America. In essesne, embassy property is that nation's soil, as much as the soil of the country itself. Consequently, Lybian no-account criminal street-trash invaded American soil and even killed someone, injuring others, and tore-down/disgraced the flag. THAT should be an Act of War. Period. And in times past it soure WOULD be considered so. But today, sissified America and it's pansy President will do NOTHING. The world already thinks America is a has-been...events like this -- a bunch of low-life thugs killing Americans on American soil yet nothing is done to stop it -- is a national disgrace, and only more evidence showing how America is a global joke. Why have Marines/armed guards at embassies if they do NOTHING (were probably ORDERED by Obama) to do nothing? WHY have guards when they are only window-dressing? What an utter disgrace this is...America is one GUTLESS country, and going downhill fast.
on September 11,2012 | 06:48PM
what wrote:
Obama took action! He made a speech and "strongly condemned" the killing. Yeah, I bet that stung them hard.
on September 12,2012 | 02:06AM
serious wrote:
Just like Bill Clinton when they attacked our embassies and the USS Cole. Words--he never did a thing. Obama has been silent. He sure had words for the boy who could have looked like his son--and the Harvard professor who was arrested---but on this and the Chicago teachers strike--nothing!!!!
on September 12,2012 | 03:02AM
Mana07 wrote:
Yes he condemned it....right after he sympathized with the behavior that led to it...
on September 12,2012 | 04:58AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Baloney.
on September 12,2012 | 05:15AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Care to tell us what you would like him to do?
on September 12,2012 | 05:15AM
johncdechon wrote:
Yeah...as I said in that other comments section after that other news article about this event entitled "Marines headed to Libya to reinforce security." The relevant excerpt: "What SHOULD be done is everyone in that [American embassy] building should be evacuated back to the US, B52s sent over that spot in two parallel lines over the embassy's location, and 1 square mile of rubble left behind -- the embassy at the center point, and also rubble -- when they leave. What a sorry pathetic country and people! PLENTY of Americans said earlier -- when we got involved helping the complete losers -- Lybians were NO friends of the US. I s l a m will NEVER be a friend of the "Christian" (joke) US. Period! So face it, Hil la ry Cli nt on, and stop being a perennial clueless airhead. America needs to GET TOUGH and kick maximum azzz...no street-trash thugs ANYWHERE should EVER get away with invading American soil and/or killing Americans. Ever!" End of excerpt.
on September 12,2012 | 05:43AM
HollyJHuber wrote:
This why America needs to stand with the critics of Islam (and all religion).
on September 11,2012 | 07:02PM
sumoroach wrote:
Where is the commander in chief? I see him campaning. This is forgien policy 101 he failed.
on September 11,2012 | 07:12PM
kawika49 wrote:
First we burn their Korans, we say nothing (both here and in Afghanistan). Then we (Ny and elsewhere) protest the building of a Moque. Then some members of Congress call Islamists terrorists. Then a fundamentalist preacher helps produce an iflaming video about Islam and distributes it in the middle east. These are peop;e that are so poor that the little they have is their religion, and we burn their holy book. They react; and now we react in kind?
on September 11,2012 | 08:27PM
HD36 wrote:
It's exactly what Israel wants. Then when they attack Iran, thousands of our troops will die for them.
on September 11,2012 | 08:55PM
aomohoa wrote:
Could we have any more hate going on here? We'll never have peace in this world. To much hate. So much for religion.
on September 11,2012 | 09:53PM
patk wrote:
Peace never has a chance because people are always scared of anything different than themselves. They especially react defensively when their core beliefs are questioned. Ignorance and fear begets anger and hate. Such is the human race.
on September 12,2012 | 05:00AM
2Lolo wrote:
No actually he's prepping for the David Letterman Show.
on September 12,2012 | 11:56AM
localgirl2 wrote:
Yes, WHAT is the name of it?? Strange that this entire article never mentions it....?
on September 11,2012 | 09:49PM
Revelation wrote:
its called "innocence of muslims" which is a film created by an israeli american real estate developer...
on September 11,2012 | 10:13PM
HD36 wrote:
What a coincidence. Netenyahou is in America, trying to persuade the US to back Israel with troops and money, when they attack Iran. Good timing on 9/11. Hopefully, most Americans will see through the smoke screen.
on September 11,2012 | 11:05PM
johncdechon wrote:
Israel doesn't need ANY help destroying the whole backwards, pathetic, loser country of Iran. Or any other sorry A r a b country. IN previous conflicts -- STARTED by sorry A r a b s -- Israel defeated multiple A r a b countries at the same time -- A r a b "armies" are a joke. Always HAVE been. NO A r a b country can stand up to Israel. Israel just didn't go far enough in the past -- when it won its wars -- to kick out all the A r a b trash, destroy the Domof the Rock mosqe in Jerusalem (it should have been blown to smithereens when Israel took Jerusalem in that "war"), and deport every one of their internal ememies -- when it had the chance to do so. Too late NOW. The MAIN problem Israel has is it's become just liie America: An undecisive, weak, sissified Paper Tiger worried about World Opinion. WHO CARES? An ni hil ate your enemies -- that's what REAL "WAR" is all about -- and the WHOLE WORLD will be better off afterwards.
on September 12,2012 | 05:54AM
quint34 wrote:
Sooner or later everyone will find out. I know. Search,knock, ask; just don't repeat the babblings of fools.
on September 12,2012 | 12:32AM
st1d wrote:
"Muslims find it offensive to depict Muhammad in any fashion, much less in an insulting way. The 2005 publication of 12 caricatures of the prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper triggered riots in many Muslim countries."

go to any market place in iran and you will see images of muhammad on post cards, posters, and other commercialized products. there are collections of early images of muhammad in museums around the world.

it's okay to put a crucifix in a jar of urine, but, god forbid, someone draws an image of muhammad. typical hypocritical left wing media afraid of offending a non-christian.


on September 12,2012 | 01:22AM
UhhDuhh wrote:
Separation of church and state. America's forefathers were GENIUSES!
on September 12,2012 | 04:49AM
patk wrote:
Except nowadays the far-right are fanatical christians. And the far-left are fanatical potheads. We need to stay in the middle ground to maintain any sense of sanity in America.
on September 12,2012 | 05:05AM
johncdechon wrote:
The most dangerous enemy I zz l a m has is a "far right Christian." And the only enemy they would fear. After all, they kicked I zz la m ic azzz during the Crusades for 200 years, especially in the beginning. America is no longer a "Christian Nation" (for how know how many decades) but I zz l a m still perceives it as still being so, and consequently, their ENEMY. The "Great S aa t aa n." To them, perception IS truth. Point is, I zz l a m (and A r a b s) don't respect anyone or any country that is weak -- they only respect decisive action & vio len ce superior to their own. Give it to them. Make everyone happy. Start by erasing Benghazi, Libya, from the map...and NEVER go back there (no more embassy) ever again.
on September 12,2012 | 06:03AM
CloudForest wrote:
It is time for the end game for these wackos to begin. First you land US Marines in full uniform with an American flag flying high upon the temple mount and blow the h*ll out of that perverted mosque that sits upon it. And then, when all of the radical muslims around the globe come out marching in the streets - you carpet bomb them into oblivion and anyone or anything that stands with them in their "rage". This would thin their ranks and let us all see who is either for us or against us. Do it live on international TV for all to see and take note of what happens when you continue to kill our people in their 'global jihad". Make sure to find their leaders in whatever hole they are hiding in and drag them out for summary execution and a pit filled with dead swine for their burial site. But then you could continue with what we are doing and eventually lose the global game of war that is being played out in front of us at this point in time. Iran with the bomb and we are only days away from a vaporized city in America, time is ticking away and the actions of now will determine the reality of tomorrow.
on September 12,2012 | 07:31AM
2Lolo wrote:
The future is dangerous for the western world. Iran and Arab nations will be eventually united and subdued under Germany's EU occupation. Then, being weary of Germany's overbearingness, Iran (Oriental nation) will bomb the smithereens out of Europe leaving it a burning waste land. And then, they come after the USA... Yikes!! http://www.civil-liberties.com/pages/prophesy.html
on September 12,2012 | 12:14PM
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