It was the eleventh anniversary of September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States. The American nation was paying respects to its countrymen who had lost their lives in brazen acts of barbaric terrorism in the early hours of a September morning eleven years ago. The tranquility of their inner emotional prayers was torn apart by breaking news. Television screens and radio stations began airing news and transmitting images of a mob attack on the American Consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.
Among the images of those killed in the mob attack was that of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya. The U.S. Department of State expressed its shock, anguish and deep sadness at the loss of the Ambassador along with three Embassy officials. President Obama strongly condemned the outrageous attack on the Consulate. He added that the four Americans exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice and partnership with nations and people around the globe. He resolved to work with the Libyan government to bring the killers to justice. Libyan interim President apologized for the cowardly attack on the Consulate, which also killed several Libyan security guards during the ensuing flare up.
The protest demonstrations and violence was sparked by an obscure video titled’ “Innocence of Muslims” made in the United States by a film maker who considered that religion to be a cancer. The excerpts of the video trailer posted on the Internet depicted a negative image of the Prophet of Islam. The video was translated into Arabic and posted on the Internet in Egypt, which was easily understood by several viewers from the Arab world.
The series of conflagrating events, which have resulted in a violent campaign against the United States calls for thoughtful analysis:
• Ambassador Stevens wanted to build a solid partnership between the two countries. He had expressed his desire to see a free, democratic and prosperous Libya. He was a career diplomat who had proficiency in Arabic and French. Diplomats, like him all over the world are envoys of peace; they aim at conflict resolution, crisis management, global outreach and building peaceful relationships.
• The repeated attacks on foreign diplomatic missions, embassies and consulates expose their vulnerability and susceptibility. Adequate protection of the Diplomatic Corps is the prime responsibility of the host government. If they fail to provide security guarantees then a new international security mechanism under the United Nations Charter needs to be devised.
• The rising tide of protests throughout the Arab world and storming of the U.S. diplomatic missions raises questions on the actual motive of the uprising. Beyond religious desecration, are there any terrorist networks colluding to foment global unrest. An ultra conservative group called Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades is suspected of being involved in the mayhem. The incident is under investigation by authorities on both sides and it is expected that the perpetrators of this heinous crime will be brought to justice.
• It is no doubt that the contents of the video have deeply hurt the people’s sentiments. U.S. Secretary of State denounced the video and termed it “disgusting and reprehensible”. It is significant to question as to why the slightest slur on the personality of the Prophet leads to a massive outpouring of anger in the Arab world. A matter of high sensitivity and extreme reverence should be handled with the care and attention it deserves.
At a time when international terrorism has threatened the economic and political stability of the world; extreme radicalism and extremism is striking at the roots of liberal thought, our energies should be geared to promote tolerance, respect, compassion and dignity of mankind. The United States as the world’s largest democracy upholding its values of liberty, justice and freedom shall find an amicable and peaceful solution to this crisis.
1. Associated Press September 14, 2012
2. CNN Headline News September 12, 2012
3. Dawn World News September 13, 2012