I suppose you’ve all heard about the appalling attacks on the US Embassy in Cairo and the Benghazi consulate. The obvious reason that the Benghazi attack is bigger news is the murder of the US Ambassador and three other staff. Both attacks of course were apparently precipitated by a movie on Youtube. I shall mainly concentrate on the Egyption outrage despite (perhaps because) the other has displaced it on the news…
Now this is curious. It has some distressing parallels with the MoToons of Doom fiasco.
A trailer for the film, which is understood to be called either The Innocence of Muslims or Mohammed, Prophet of the Muslims, was first uploaded to YouTube in July to little attention.
Last week, however, a version was dubbed into Arabic and posted on the same YouTube channel and it was rapidly copied and viewed tens of thousands of times, before being shown on a Egyptian TV channel.
Sound familiar? In 2005 nothing happened for months until Clerics did a tour of the Middle East to whip-up outrage. Then all Hell broke out. Utter rabble rousing (though obviously not entirely spontaneous) and manufactured outrage just like this time. Why did they show this on Egyptian TV if not to create a restless mob? And who I wonder dubbed the movie into Arabic? I appreciate I use the word “mob” but obviously all of this is organised chaos. The craven response to the MoToons didn’t placate the Islamists in 2005 and certainly it hasn’t changed their attitudes since as many subsequent incidents attest including of course these two attacks on diplomatic property and diplomats.
So what has been the response from the USA? This was what the US Embassy in Cairo put on it’s website after the Embassy was stormed on the 11th of September and the flag torn down to be replaced by a black one bearing the inscription, “Allahu Ackbar”. That specific flag is associated with many Islamist groups including Al-Queda…
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 other.
The Grand Mufti of Egypt Sheikh Ali Gomaa said this about the movie two days before the attack:
Freedom of speech does not warrant desecrating sanctities.
Do they have the same speech-writer?
Now I don’t know if this is the specific graffiti pictured but apparently at least one of the scrawls read:
“If your freedom of speech has no limits, may you accept our freedom of action.”
From the Islamic Awakening Forum.
PS. I’m not sure about this but I have heard from various sources (can’t remember where, sorry) that in Egypt the word out on the street was that the movie was financed by Copts. Hmm…