The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three American members of his staff were killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi by protesters angry over a film that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad.
Reports say the film depicts Muhammad and Islam’s other founders as womanizers, child molesters and homosexuals.
In Libya on Sept. 11, U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed when he and other embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff as the building came under attack by a mob with guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
Earlier, hundreds of protesters in neighboring Egypt scaled the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to tear down and replace the American flag with a black Islamic banner.
That demonstration also was said to be sparked by outrage over a film ridiculing Muhammad.
Several reports said the film was written by Israeli-American Sam Bacile and promoted by Florida preacher Terry Jones, the man who earlier this year threatened Barack Obama, who in 2011 burned the Quran and who made threats to do so in 2010.
A short video for the film, “Innocence of Muslims,” was released on the Web on Sept. 11. Jones promoted it, along with declaring Sept. 11 “International Judge Muhammad Day.” He said in a statement that the film is “an American production, not designed to attack Muslims but to show the destructive ideology of Islam.” The film, he continued, “further reveals in a satirical fashion the life of Muhammad.”
The president, in a statement after the deaths in Libya, said, “While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.”
He also said, “The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.”