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Muslim Response to Chris Stevens' Killing Is Disappointing

Tawfik Hamid By Tuesday, 25 September 2012 10:35 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The brutal killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya raises several concerns that must be addressed.

While it is fair to say that not every Libyan contributed to this killing and that most Libyans did not choose the Islamists in their latest elections, it is also fair to say that the reaction of the Libyan people in general to the killing to Chris Stevens was extremely disappointing.

US Deputy Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs William Burns (right) and Mohamed al-Megaryef, president of Libya's ruling national assembly, honor slain ambassador Chris Stevens on Sept. 20 in Tripoli.
(Getty Images)
After the U.S. spent at least a billion taxpayer dollars to protect the Libyan people from the massacres of Gadhafi and to save the Libyan women from rape at the hands of mercenaries, it was expected that the Libyans go instantaneously in hundreds of thousands to the streets to denounce the killing of this great ambassador who loved them and paid his life as a price for his care about Libya and its people.

The possibility that the Libyans have not done so because they are NOT used to demonstrating is extremely illogical as Libyans used to demonstrate in huge numbers against Gadhafi for more than a year.

The lack of huge demonstrations in Libya — and also in other parts of the Muslim world from those who should be thankful to the U.S. for saving their fellow Muslims in Libya — is simply inexcusable.

We have seen the president of Egypt (Morsi) asking the Egyptian people to demonstrate in Tahrir square to denounce the film that insulted Prophet Muhammad. However, we have not heard that the president of Libya asked the Libyans to do the same, but instead to denounce the killing of Chris Stevens.

We also have not seen the Libyan government declaring a three or even one-day national mourning to express grief for his death.

The video of the killing of the ambassador was interpreted by some media in a way to convey the message that those who appeared in the video were supportive of the ambassador. There is a possibility that some were sympathizing with him.

However, the way “Allah Akbar” was used and the use of a short “Zaghroota” (special sound in the Arab culture to indicate happiness), and the raising of the hands in an expression of victory raises a strong possibility that many of those surrounding Chris Stevens at this moment were celebrating his death.

Some media interpreted this video as if the people were happy that they found him alive. The crowd shouted “Allah Akbar” immediately after his body was dragged outside the room (as seen in the video). In general, it is very difficult amid such mayhem to evaluate if someone is alive or not in less than a few seconds while his body is dragged in this way.

It is also important to question if those people who were demonstrating around the U.S. embassy at that time were likely to be pro-America or anti-America. If they were appreciative of what the U.S. has done to them they probably would not have demonstrated against it.

There was a demonstration against the radicals that occurred 10 days after the killing of the ambassador. However, this limited demonstration can not in any way be considered a substitute for huge public demonstrations in both Libya and the Muslim world to support Chris Stevens and express gratitude to the U.S. for saving the Libyans from Gadhafi massacres.

Irrespective of how the video was interpreted, the lack of strong and powerful demonstrations all over Libya to denounce such acts speaks volumes. Individual responses of some girls wearing the Hijab and carrying the image of the ambassador as seen in some media cannot replace the weak response of most of the Libyans until now.

In brief, irrespective if the mob that surrounded Chris Stevens at the time of his death was happy with his death or not, and irrespective if the attack was organized by a terrorist group or not, the lack of strong public reaction by the Libyan people and by other Muslims to denounce the heinous killing of this great man is nothing but shameful.

Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam." Read more reports from Tawfik Hamid — Click Here Now.

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The brutal killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya raises several concerns that must be addressed.
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 10:35 AM
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