Muslim protesters last night murdered the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three American members of his staff. They were trying to evacuate staff members from a U.S. consulate building in Benghazi that a mob armed with guns and rocket-propelled grenades attacked.
The protest came after Muslim clerics criticized a video made in the United States that criticizes Islam and mocks Muhammad. Some had watched excerpts of the film posted on YouTube and dubbed in Arabic. Stevens, 52, was a career diplomat who spoke Arabic and French and had already served two tours in Libya.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo also came under assault. Some 2,000 protesters screamed anti-American slogans. The New York Times reported that protesters destroyed an American flag and "replaced it with a black flag with an Islamic profession of faith - 'There is no god but God, and Muhammad is his prophet' - favored by ultraconservatives and militants."
That statement is misleading. The profession of faith, usually translated as "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet," is a statement of faith that every Muslim makes. In this sense, every orthodox Muslim is a militant.
The Times also reported, "A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, the mainstream Islamist group and the sponsor of Egypt's first elected president, Mohamed Morsi, urged the United States government on Tuesday to prosecute the 'madmen' behind the video." The U.S. Embassy in Cairo condemned the video, but the Obama administration later backed away from the idea that somehow the video justified Muslim violence.