Local Muslims react to killings in Libya, video about Muhammad
By Susan DeMar Lafferty email@example.com September 12, 2012 7:32PM
Updated: October 15, 2012 9:29AM
Local Muslims expressed their condemnation as well as condolences regarding the killing of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in a mob attack in Libya.
“It is absolutely outrageous. We firmly believe this was a cowardly act totally contradicting the teachings of Islam,” said Oussama Jammal, chairman of Muslim American Society -- Public Affairs and Civil Engagement.
Stevens was highly regarded by the Libyan people and helped them achieve independence from a dictator, he said.
The killing of Stevens and the others at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was initially presumed to have been a spontaneous act triggered by outrage over a movie called “Innocence of Muslims” that mocked Islam’s Prophet Muhammad that was produced in the U.S. and excerpted on YouTube. The amateurish video also drew protests in Egypt.
“If people had objections to a film about the Prophet Muhammad, they should exemplify his character of peace, passion and forgiveness instead of resorting to murder. Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance and respects the freedom of expression,” Jammel said.
He said he was not even aware of the film that sparked the violence.
“This is more publicity than it deserves.”
The filmmakers’ intent was “to provoke,” and the protesters “fell into the trap,” Jammel said.
“They do not reflect the values of any religion,” he said. “We still have a long way to go to weed out extremists.”
At a time when the world is making strides going forward in the realms of democracy and freedom, such acts take us several steps back, he said.
The American Muslims for Palestine, a national grassroots organization with a base in Palos Hills, said Stevens and his staff were “innocent victims of the unacceptable violence that resulted from the release of an inflammatory trailer” for “Innocence of Muslims.”
In a press release, the group condemned the “senseless violence” and said it is in no way sanctioned by Islam or by the examples of Muhammad, who always reacted with wisdom and peace when he was persecuted.
“The intention of many Islamophobic efforts such as this film is clearly to hurt relations between Americans and members of the Islamic world. We are heartened that President Barack Obama has clearly made the distinction between the perpetrators of the violence and the Libyan people and government,” said Dr. Osama Abu Irshaid, national board member for American Muslims for Palestine and editor of Al Mezan newspaper.
“We should be mature in our faith and not be so reactive when we see things like this in the media,” said W. Deen Mohammed, president of The Mosque Cares in Calumet City. “We should react with peace. Violence should never be a solution to our problems.”
Robin Mohammed, also of The Mosque Cares, said she hopes the incident will spark more talking, more peace and more education.
“Ignorance usually leads to violence,” she said.