Twin Towers, America Cowers

Yesterday, as Americans and the free world commemorated 9-11, Egyptian protesters partied their own way.

Esam Omran Al-Fetori / Reuters

Egyptian protesters on Tuesday took down the American flag from the walls of the US embassy in Cairo during a thousands-strong demonstration held to protest a short film produced by US based Coptic-Christians that critics say demeans Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.

A number of protesters managed to climb atop the walls surrounding the embassy, while others were able to breach the embassy’s garden, where they removed an American flag and replaced it with another one bearing the Islamic declaration of faith: “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is the Prophet of Allah.”

The Ultras White Knights – hardcore football bans – claimed that members of their group had brought down the US flag. While group members have since retreated from the scene, they say they are planning additional rallies to protest the film.

Many of the more Islamist-leaning protesters had answered calls by Salafist leader Wesam Abdel-Wareth – who is also the president of Egypt’s ultra-conservative Al-Hekma television channel – to protest the film ‘Mohammed’s trial’ at 5pm outside the US embassy in Cairo’s Garden City district.

Abdel-Wareth, for his part, denied that protesters had managed to breach embassy premises, claiming that the American flag had been torched in front – rather than inside – embassy grounds.

The Al-Hekma channel’s official Facebook page, meanwhile, has posted a photo of a group of young men removing the flag outside the embassy with a comment that reads: “Ultras Zamalek tear the American flag in front of the embassy.”

US embassy spokesman David Linfield, for his part, confirmed that protesters had been able to enter the embassy and remove the flag. He went on to deny rumours, however, that shots had been fired at demonstrators or that anyone had been injured or killed.

According to one Ahram Online reporter at the scene, no one had been injured in the ongoing demonstration. Despite the tense atmosphere, security forces deployed at the scene appeared relatively relaxed, with many of them sitting on the sidewalk.

Protesters carried signs condemning the alleged insults to Prophet Mohammed, while others vowed vengeance. Some protesters demanded the embassy’s closure.

“Obama, Obama there are still a billion Osamas,” they chanted in reference to slain Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

Other protesters wrote “There is no God but Allah and Mohamed is the Prophet of Allah” on the embassy’s main gate, obscuring the sign reading “Embassy of the United States.”

“Everyone is here for the Prophet,” said protester Osama Abdel-Halim. “Why is it that, in politics, everyone takes to the streets over things like the constitution, but not when the prophet is insulted?”

Speaking to Ahram Online, engineer Ahmed Hussein said: “I don’t want the embassy to be closed down, since this would adversely affect Egyptians living in the US. But I agree that the makers of this film should be prosecuted.”

He added: “I don’t care if anyone insults Islamist politicians, but insulting the religion itself is a red line.”

Protester Mostafa Khalaf called on Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, to “take the necessary steps to prevent the broadcast of this offensive film.”

“Morsi, Morsi why are you silent? Isn’t this your prophet?” protesters chanted.

The protest began to deviate from its peaceful nature when some demonstrators began setting off fireworks, the sound of which resembled gunfire. Other demonstrators at the scene chanted “Peaceful, Peaceful,” urging their fellow protesters to refrain from acts of violence.

At one point, the Egyptian Army intervened, surrounding the embassy grounds in an effort to pacify the situation.

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As of 8pm, roughly 20 people were standing atop the embassy’s outer wall, while some 2,000 protesters amassed outside the building.

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Brotherhood, Salafist reactions

Meanwhile, Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan said on Tuesday that the group planned to call for a million-man rally on Friday to register their opposition to the anti-Islam film.

Ghozlan also said that the US administration should issue a formal apology for the film to the Muslim world, adding that the US government should prosecute the “madmen” whose activities were harming Washington’s relations with Arab and Muslim countries.

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Ahmed Khalil, for his part, a senior leader of Egypt’s Salafist Nour Party (which played a leading role in Tuesday’s protest), said the party would not call for an open-ended sit-in in front of the embassy. Rather, he said, it had submitted a request to the US embassy demanding that the US government ban broadcast of the film and issue an official apology for its offensive content.

Khalil added that the actions of “certain US citizens” who produced the film served to jeopardize Washington’s relations with the entire Muslim world.

In an attempt to contain the situation, members of Egypt’s Salafist parties are reportedly cooperating with Egypt’s Central Security Forces to persuade protesters to come down from atop the embassy’s walls.

And how did the US Embassy respond? By cowering issuing this press release:

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.

Meanwhile, in Libya:

A State Department officer was killed after armed protesters stormed the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, furious about an amateur video that has been viewed as insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed the American’s death in a statement on Tuesday evening.

“Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” Clinton said in the statement. “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”

The attack left much of the consulate burned, witnesses said, and came hours after demonstrators in Egypt climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to protest the video.

I am just awaiting the press release from the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, which I imagine would be something like this:

The Embassy of the United States in benghazi 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.

We are also sorry that one of our State Department officers got in the way of the aggrieved protesters, who accidentally killed him, which no doubt pained them further since it is against their religion.

Update: Romney’s right.

Mitt Romney attacked the Obama administration late Tuesday over the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya, claiming its first response was “to sympathize” with the attackers.

An Obama campaign spokesman responded by saying they were “shocked” that Romney would “choose to launch a political attack” shortly after the death of a U.S. official. A State Department officer was killed in Benghazi, Libya, after armed protesters stormed the consulate.

As the controversy built on Tuesday over an amateur video allegedly produced in the U.S. – that shows the Prophet Muhammad having sex and calling for massacres – the U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued a statement saying it condemned “efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.

“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,” it added.

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Romney said he was “outraged” by the attacks and the killing of the officer in Benghazi.

“It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks,” he added.

Update: Here is a graphic photo of the murdered ambassador, J. Christoper Stevens.

(Sorry, but I want the barbarity to hit home).

The movie (a trailer of which can be seen here) was clearly ill conceived  (not to mention badly acted). However, this does not justify the barbaric reaction. If us Jews went on a killing spree after each time we felt aggrieved or maligned, the world population would be halved. At least.

Update: Obama statement on the attack, which is not cowering like the Egyptian embassy statement.

I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.

I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.

On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.

The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.

About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks

comments

  • Jim from Iowa

    Wow, what a great post, Dave. I learned more in 20 minutes on your site than I did spending three hours watching this morning’s MSNBC programming. But you’re absolutely wrong about Romney’s opportunistic misstep. When Americans die serving their country overseas, the last thing we want is a political attack against the sitting president. MSNBC talking heads on “Morning Joe” spent more time taking Netanyahu to task for their perception of his political interference in the upcoming American elections than they did explaining what was going on in Libya and Egypt. Cable news fail!

  • Morris the Katz

    This attack was instigated by a guy calling himself Sam Bacile, who apparently was working with Terry Jones, the so-called “preacher” from Florida who is notorious for burning Korans.

    You can’t throw chum in the water and complain when a Great White Shark leaps out and bites off your hand.

    For Romney to blame Obama for this, which was instigated by a few right-wing nutjobs, is the height of hypocrisy, and one which will backfire on him.

    As for Sam Bacile, he ought to change his first name to “Im.”

    • http://cosmicx.blogspot.co.il/ Cosmic X

      “You can’t throw chum in the water and complain when a Great White Shark leaps out and bites off your hand.”

      You are comparing Muslims to sharks? Bigot!

    • unpluggged

      It would be many times better for everyone if all the copies of this so-called book were burned, along with ‘Mein Kampf’ and ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’.

      • C

        along with all the other holy books too?

        • unpluggged

          You say it only for yourself. If this “book” is holy for you, it’s your problem, not ours.

          • C

            I’m just saying, the bible and the talmud and such obviously need to go in the same book burning.

    • Barack Hussein Messiah

      If nothing else we need to ruthlessly crush all comments all opposition to Islam wherever we find it. The 1st amendment was nothing more than a suggestion. There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is the Prophet of Allah.

      Obama 2012

  • spindok

    I do not think that these were spontaneous protests over an obscure video. These were planned coordinated attacks by Islamists planned for 9/11. The video is just an excuse to stir up the mobs.

  • Morris the Katz

    Wrong. This was translated into Arabic, then posted on YouTube. The idiot who created this video knew exactly what he was doing and the reaction it would provoke. He did it because he believed Obama would be blamed for the rioting, which is exactly what that POS Mitt Romney did.

    Now that it’s known that the creation and “distribution” (on YouTube) of this video, which was strictly designed to provoke a riot), was done by right-wing uber-morons, this will backfire completely on Romney and on any extreme right-winger who uses it as an excuse to attack Obama.

    I have no love for Arabs and Muslims. None whatsoever. But pissing into the wind isn’t smart, and there’s blood on the hands of the filmmaker (who wasn’t the least bit apologetic about what happened, and who blamed Obama himself) and those who helped publicize this crap.

    When American soldiers got caught pissing on the Koran (they were stupid enough to videotape their actions), they were courtmartialed.

    • ziontruth

      “The idiot who created this video knew exactly what he was doing and the reaction it would provoke. He did it because he believed Obama would be blamed for the rioting, … strictly designed to provoke a riot), was done by right-wing uber-morons, …”

      It’s a conspiracy. /sarc

      “I have no love for Arabs and Muslims. None whatsoever. But pissing into the wind isn’t smart, and there’s blood on the hands of the filmmaker … and those who helped publicize this crap.”

      Aggressors should always be appeased. /sarc

      “When American soldiers got caught pissing on the Koran … they were courtmartialed.”

      That’s good—didn’t I say aggressors should always be appeased? /sarc

    • USfirst

      You’re right Morris. We should get rid of free speech and have a media review board. We can make sure that nothing we do or say insults Muslims.
      First we have to apologize for making them kill our ambassador and attacking our embassy.
      Obama has good experience bowing to Saudi royalty and will should do a great mea culpa.

      • Morris the Katz

        As it turns out this WAS a not-so-vast right wing conspiracy, involving two Egyptian Christians, an extreme right-wing preacher, and a guy named Klein who’s a Christian fundamentalist, I was correct all along.

        • JF

          Soory, Morry. The translation into Arabic was done by Egyptian Salafists and the translated movie was posted on Egyptian Salafist websites.

          Vast conspiracy, probably. By Salafist Muslims. To cause the dhimmi to cower. It appears to have worked.

      • C

        what about bush, who kissed saudi royalty?

  • Pingback: Update on Benghazi embassy attack: US Ambassador and 3 others murdered | Anne's Opinions

  • Barack Hussein Messiah

    Hillary Clinton is going to have a recruitment problem on her hands if blithely permitting ambassadors to be murdered and then apologizing to the murderers for it is the best she can do. Of course given the American non-reaction to Arafat BOAST he personally murdered American diplomats in Sudan in the 1980′s? we can count on whomever admits to this being offered a White House visit soon.

  • walt kovacs

    the vid has been up since july.

    the name on the account is fake

    the backstory, that the guy is an israeli america backed by 100 jewish bankers for a 5 mil dollar movie…if fake

    there is no movie

    there is a 13 minute laffably bad vid

    sad thing is, the obama admin is just using the same lines that the bush admin did during the mohamed picture uproar

    • The Plow that Broke the Stars

      Israel claims this fellow has no record of ever being an Israeli citizen. Moreover this guy claims to have gone into hiding to protect his family in Egypt, which if true means he’s probably a Coptic Christian. So all the Jew Haters can probably sit down and stop concocting while Kristallnacht theories about who to blame.

  • Hundra the Warrior Woman

    Oh my goodness gracious me! That trailer is so bad it’s good! LOL!!!

  • C

    an Australian in Israel saying that Mitt Romney is right about something is delightfully ridiculous

    • http://www.israellycool.com/ Aussie Dave

      What does my nationality and location have to do with my qualification in stating my opinion? The only thing ridiculous here is your comment.

      • Jim from Iowa

        An Israeli of Australian origin has every right to weigh in on American politics. No matter how wrong he is.

    • unpluggged

      An anonymous of an unknown residence thinks he’s the right to lecture others.

      Obama while on his elections campaign in 2008 said that he would stay with the muslims should the political wind turn in an “ugly direction”. He did not say he would stay with Americans, but he did say he would with muslims.

      And also he said that the greatest admiration of all people he ever had was for his cousin, because “he converted to Islam”.

      And so on.

      • C

        I heard he’s gay too!!!!

  • USfirst

    $5 mil to make that video? How absurd. It maybe cost a couple of hundred at most.

  • just bob

    When the followers of THE PEDAPHILE are killing Christians all over the world and burning churches I am supposed to understand their anger over a bullshit poorly made movie.Get Real.