The deadly assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya on Sept. 11 “was preceded by a succession of security lapses and misjudgments, compounded by fog-of-battle decisions, that raise questions about whether the scope of the tragedy could have been contained,”reports The Wall Street Journal in one of the most detailed reporting pieces to date on what went wrong in Benghazi. Reporter Margaret Coker was a friend of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens—watch the moving video below of her early morning reaction to his death. Turns out journalists are people, too.
Two days before embassy violence began in Egypt, Middle East analyst Raymond Ibrahim wrote a post titled “Jihadis Threaten to Burn U.S. Embassy in Cairo.” Ibrahim writes now, “By obsessing over the 14-minute YouTube Muhammad video and its maker, the mainstream media ultimately exonerates the inexcusable and murderous response of the Islamic world.”
“The American ambassador in Libya [Christopher Stevens] was sexually raped before being killed by the gunmen who stormed the embassy building in Benghazi last night [Tuesday, Sept. 11], in protestation of a film insulting to the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him,” according to the Arabic website Tayyar“ (and yes, there are photos).
The State Department last year spent roughly $3 million per embassy for security upgrades—and has slated $1.64 billion for embassy construction and security in 2013. Since 9/11, of the 265 embassies worldwide, the United States has built 80 new diplomatic installations (most for improving security) and has 22 underway.
More on U.S. embassies held hostage today: As Friday prayers in the Muslim world commenced, the United States shut its embassies in India, as well as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore. And in Nigeria. In sub-Saharan Africa, U.S. embassies are on alert after more threats from local Muslim clerics. And in Tunisia, where the attack on the U.S. Embassy and a nearby American school left four people dead, authorities hunted but then let slip away the radical Islamic cleric charged with instigating the violence.
A remarkable airlift of several thousand Christians trapped in the Muslim-dominated Sudan began to South Sudan this week, sponsored by Barnabas Fund.
For a detailed, scholarly discussion of Islamic blasphemy laws around the world, follow Hudson Institute fellow Paul Marshall, who’s been touring the Islamic world to discuss Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide, a book he co-authored with Nina Shea. Here’s a report from Indonesia, and a live discussion hosted Wednesday by one of Pakistan’s leading newspapers.
A new and timely anthology from the William Carey Library and the World Evangelical Alliance is Sorrow & Blood: Christian Mission in Contexts of Suffering, Persecution, and Martyrdom. This is a useful tool for churches, mission organizations, schools, and homeschoolers. (Disclaimer: I contributed one chapter among its 69 chapters and six appendixes.)
Looking into: Ushahidi and discussions of how crowd sourcing in crisis works and who it benefits.
Reading: Assassins of the Turquoise Palace by Roya Hakakian and House of Stone by Anthony Shadid.