Editor’s note: Noman Benotman is president of Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism group in London. He is a former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a jihadist organization that fought against Muammar Qaddafi’s regime in the 1990s. After resigning from L.I.F.G. in 2002, he became a prominent critic of jihadist and Islamist violence.
(CNN) – The Obama administration may very well be right that the attack in Benghazi which claimed the lives of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. officials was part of a pre-planned terrorist operation. It would have happened sooner or later, regardless of any protests against an obscure anti-Islam film made in America.
The attack apparently occurred because in recent days, the al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri posted a video online calling on Libyans to avenge the killing of al-Qaeda’s second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi.
According to our own sources at Quilliam Foundation, the attack was the work of roughly 20 militants, prepared for a military assault. It is rare, for example, that an RPG7 — an anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher — would be present at a civilian protest. The attack against the consulate had two waves. The first attack led to U.S. officials being evacuated from the consulate by Libyan security forces, only for the second wave to be launched against U.S. officials after they were kept at a secure location.
FULL ARTICLE FROM CNN
Tuesday’s deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that ended with the death of US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens has drawn widespread attention to an anti-Islam film that enraged rioters on the scene. As the Monitor’s Dan Murphy notes, the situation is reminiscent of the riots over the Muhammad cartoons published in 2005 by Denmark’s Jyllands-Postennewspaper. He writes:
In some ways, it was the beginning of an era of manufactured outrage, with a group of fringe hate-mongers in the West developing a symbiotic relationship with radical clerics across the East. The Westerners deliberately cause offense by describing Islam as a fundamentally violent religion, and all too often mobs in Muslim-majority states oblige by engaging in violence.
He correctly notes that the film’s authors “cannot be blamed for the violence … that blame goes to the perpetrators.” Still, some may argue that the best way to end this vicious cycle of hateful message-and-response is to stifle the message. But – putting aside the question of whether this is the best course of action – is it even a legal option? Can the US government act to stop the circulation of offensive material like this? Can someone else?
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
ENInews–In Tripoli, fireworks were ignited, guns fired in the air and chants sounded on 17 February in celebrations marking the first anniversary of the Libyan uprising that ended Colonel Moammar Gadhafi’s 42-year rule.
But amid the fanfare, Christian leaders emphasized the need for comprehensive reconciliation and sustained peace efforts to end instability in the North African country.
“The people seem much happier as from last October (when Gadhafi was captured). They are more spontaneous, happy and relieved. They are joyful, not withstanding the security situations they are facing, but we still have to keep praying and stressing peace and reconciliation,” the Rev. Daniel Farrugia, the vicar general of the Vicariate of Tripoli, told ENInews in a telephone interview.
The first major uprising against Gadhafi’s rule started in the town of Benghazi in February last year. The revolt later spread to other parts of the country with the NATO Alliance joining to back rebel fighters grouped under the National Transitional Council.
The alliance conducted airstrikes to implement a U.N.-sanctioned no-fly zone and protect civilians. The action was approved by the U.N. Security Council after Gadhafi’s forces attacked civilians protesting his brutal rule.
With the death of the leader on 20 October, global Christian leaders had raised concerns that an Islamist takeover would badly affect Christianity as it had been witnessed in other North African countries and the Middle East.
But Farrugia explained that the Church had survived the war and continues with its work and mission. “It was not very much affected and its members are now returning, especially the Filipinos and African. But the families are yet to return,” he said.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY