U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was killed on September 11, 2012 when militants allegedly linked to Ansar Al-Sharia attacked the embassy with rocket-propelled grenades. The militants fought with US and Libyan security forces, killing four Americans and an undetermined number of Libyan security officers. The attack was carried out while there was a protest against an anti-Islamic film trailer screened by radical Christian pastor Terry Jones.
In both Egypt and Libya, religious protestors demonstrated in front of the respective US Embassies after a 14-minute trailer for the film “The Innocence of Muslims.” The clip was posted to a YouTube account under the pseudonym of Sam Bacile and caused a furor after it was dubbed into Arabic. The clip has the production value of a high-school film project and much of the anti-Islamic dialogue was dubbed over the words spoken by “the actors.”
President Obama denounced the film saying, “we reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” but also denounced the actions of both the protestors and the militants. 50 Marines were sent to aid in the security of the embassy and two warships were dispatched to the coast of Libya. Before the attacks, the US Embassy in Cairo posted a statement denouncing the film to their Twitter account, which was removed after the Obama Administration separated itself from those comments and the protests turned violent.
Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney garnered criticism from both Democrats and members of his own party when he suggested that the President was apologizing for American “values.” Others, such as Athena Butler writing for USA Today, said that “Sam Bacile,” should be arrested. Ambassador Stevens is the first US Ambassador to perish in office since 1988.
Photo courtesy US Embassy Libya
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