News / USA

US Muslim Leaders Condemn Violent Protests in Libya, Egypt

American Muslim leaders are condemning the killing of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Libya and the assault on the U.S. embassy in Egypt as well as the anti-Islamic video that apparently sparked the attacks.  They say violence is not the answer to criticism of their religion.

The violence in Benghazi and Cairo has shocked Americans -- including American Muslims.

A group of U.S. Muslim leaders joined other clergy at the National Press Club here in Washington on Wednesday to condemn the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

"We mourn the loss of a champion of freedom," said Imam Mohamed Majid, President of the Indiana-based Islamic Society of North America.

Stevens was killed at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in protests that erupted over the release of a film mocking Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

Majid says it offended him.

"It's okay to be angry; it's okay to be upset because we love the Prophet.  But the way we respond is in the prophetic way, in his way, not the dictated way from other people who tell us we're going to incite you to commit violence so you can distort the image of your prophet furthermore," he said.

The film also offended Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism here in Washington.

"It was made to insult, to degrade, to denigrate, to mock religion in a way that common sense would have told them it was likely to evoke violence, and to do at such a time, to release it just at 9/11 [i.e., September 11, the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington] was a particularly repugnant act by those who were involved with the film," Saperstein said.

Similar protests have erupted before.  In 2008 in Indonesia, violence erupted in response to a film by a Dutch politician that attacked Islam's holy book, the Quran.

Haris Tarin, Washington Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, an advocacy group that promotes the integration of Muslims in American society, says there is a small, but committed segment of U.S. society that is trying to defame Islam.

"They're not in the business of trying to promote understanding, better relations, democracy.  They're in the business of demonizing, of hate mongering and trying to marginalize American Muslim communities and incite U.S.-majority Muslim country relations," Tarin said.

Tarin says the protesters in Libya and Egypt were incited by the film to riot, but that they are wrong if they think that America is anti-Muslim. "And the last message that I want to send to our brethren in the Muslim world is that Muslims in America are a vibrant community who enjoy religious freedom to its utmost," he said.

These religious leaders say this is not a conflict between Islam and America, but between fringe groups who want to incite one.

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: lawrence from: Ivory Coast
September 13, 2012 11:33 AM
I watched the part of the film , yes it is stupid and poorly made, So who is this Mohommed??A a Christian I condemn this in the strongest terms senseless act of violence on the USA , But I am here to say, this is not for us to judge or revenge. This is for God to deal with. God doesn't need us, to storm into a embassy and kill people!Who is ur GOD? Do you think I like when my God is brought down to hedonistic levels, no, but I'm not going to do more harm in God's name. God is love, Peace,respect to all Mankid and Wisdom,Is Mohemmed ur GOD?Because I see man with this same name Boming another member with this same religion.So who are u fighting for?God is mercy and most of all God doesn't need me to do anything he is omnipresent, omniscient... God is in control.I Love my father in Heaven.

by: basie from: Leesburg VA
September 13, 2012 11:29 AM
All of us here were deeply saddened by the news,” The ambassador was one of the first advocates in the early stage of the revolution to help the Libyan people to achieve their Goal
“I think no matter what the movie depicts, there’s certainly no justification for retaliating with these kinds of acts. “I don’t know why overseas these things provoke such a reaction. He helped the Libyan people to get rid of the dictator. The one slitting the Libyan people.
Muslims need to Educate our self “The prophet (Muhammad) himself was insulted in person in his life and he never sought revenge or to kill anybody.”

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 13, 2012 8:12 AM
This religion cannot integrate in civil and volatile societies, nay USA. It's like misplaced priority. Muslims through and through prove that they cannot cohabit with sane people and peoples of other faiths; they are not ready to accommodate other people's views and criticism and so cannot be a religion for humans. We must remember that it is because of this domineering posture that peoples of other faiths are almost extinct in countries where islam is predominant - predominant because it systematically destroyed the peoples surrounding it - it itself being the only religion outrightly violent and nihilist. Today the American muslim is preaching peace to be granted a foothold. When that is achieved, the tune will change, and violence with suicide attacks will replace the peace. I won't wish America that luck. God forbid!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs