Last week, members of the Islamic community were provoked, after an anti-Islamic video was posted online portraying the Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer, child molester and buffoon.
The 14-minute movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” was originally produced in English about a year ago, but a new version translated into Arabic reappeared on the web Sept. 11. The attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, led to four American deaths, including the U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens.
These deaths have led many to believe that they were related to the sporadic demonstrations and protests outside of the U.S. Embassy. As a result, President Barack Obama released a statement announcing his administration “would work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people”and “secure our diplomats.” In an interview with David Letterman, Obama said the attacks on the U.S. Consulate were not acts of war.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said there is “no indication of premeditation or preplanned attacks.” He also said, “We’re not making declarations ahead of the facts here.” Libyan President Mohammed el-Magarif said he believes the attackers were connected to al-Qaida and used the demonstrations to cover the attack on the U.S. Consulate.
San Diego State political science professor Farid Abdel-Nour believes it’s entirely possible the attacks were preplanned. “There were protestors outside and then the ambassadors were attacked,” Abdel-Nour said. “What the relationship between these two events is? We don’t know.” The video, which Abdel-Nour said was solely made to incite violence, will not be removed from YouTube.
The company released a statement saying, “The video—which is widely available on the web—is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube. However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt, we have temporarily restricted access in both countries.”
Abdel-Nour encourages the protesters to make peace with what happened. “If I was living in Egypt or Libya today I would try to talk to my fellow citizens and tell them to calm down. There is actually an extremist group in the U.S. that is trying to play us and it is working,” Abdel-Nour said. “We need to learn how to not be provoked when we are being provoked because it is not in our interest to be provoked.” Abdel-Nour, compared the video to somebody saying, “I am going to step on something you really care about and I am going to put it in the mud and really rub it.”
Egypt’s general prosecutor issued arrest warrants for American pastor Terry Jones and seven Coptic Christians who were allegedly linked to the distribution and creation of the anti-Islamic film. Jones is known for his connection to the deadly protests after he burnt a copy of the Qurán during last year’s anniversary of 9/11. According to Washington Post, Jones and the seven others in question have been accused of harming Islamic unity, as well as insulting and publicly attacking Islam. No date for a trial has been set, but if convicted they may face the death penalty.