Muslim Leaders Denounce Violence While Al-Qaida Calls For More
One day after protests against the U.S. erupted across North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, influential religious leaders in Saudi Arabia and Egypt sent messages of moderation on Saturday, while Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula called for further attacks.
Statements coming out of Egypt since Obama's brushback have been far more conciliatory, including one from a highly influential religious body. As the Washington Post reports:
The top cleric in U.S. ally Saudi Arabia denounced the film but said it can’t really hurt Islam, a contrast to protesters’ frequently heard cries that the movie amounts to a humiliating attack that requires retaliation. He urged Muslims not to be 'dragged by anger' into violence. The head of the Sunni Muslim world’s pre-eminent religious institution, Egypt’s Al-Azhar, backed peaceful protests but said Muslims should counter the movie by reviving Islam’s moderate ideas."
As protests have started to wane and more moderate voices are speaking out, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula called for more violence against American embassies and international staffers, painting the amateurish video, endorsed by no person of any standing in the country in which it was produced, as an insult from the U.S. that must be avenged. As Reuters reports:
Praising the attacks by angry demonstrators in Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Sudan on U.S. and other Western missions as 'natural responses to a huge insult,' the statement said that American embassies should be burned and diplomats killed.
It said defending the Prophet's honor was a 'religious duty and obligation to the Muslim nation, each according to his ability.'"
In the wake of the violence against its embassies and consulates, the U.S. has supplemented the local security detail provided by host governments by sending Marines to its installations in Tripoli, Libya and Yemen. The U.S. wanted to do the same for its embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, but as the Post reports, the Sudanese government rejected the request, claiming it was able to satisfactorily protect Americans.
In his weekly address, President Obama called the images of protests against the U.S. "disturbing," reiterating his condemnation of the content of the film, while saying there is "no excuse for attacks on our Embassies and Consulates."
Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage of Libya here.
Reach Executive Producer Matt Pressberg here.