Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Critical Response to the Embassy Attacks

Below find the text to a response from Arab-West Report to the recent attacks on the embassies. AWR is an independent media outlet that sent in their own investigative journalist to the scenes of the protests, and offers some chilling insight into real-time on the ground reactions - both from within Egypt and from a media's standpoint.

September 12, 2012

CAIRO, Egypt  (AWR) -- Crowds of angry protesters continued to gather for a second straight day outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Wednesday, denouncing a short, obscure online film produced in America that denounces the Prophet Muhammad and insults Islam. Similar protests in Benghazi, Libya, unfortunately turned violent, resulting in the senseless death of the U.S. ambassador and three other American embassy staff.

AWR's Jayson Casper, who attended the Cairo protest and spoke first-hand with many of those in attendance, says most of the protesters who scaled the embassy walls on Tuesday were not radical Islamists, as reported in Western media, but part of a group known as the Ultras, a legion of angry young soccer fans who are known to take advantage of protests by sometimes inciting violence and clashing with police. Some of those in attendance were also Copts.

Nonetheless, foreign media reports quickly jumped on the story, reporting that the Cairo embassy was "under seige" by ultra-conservative Islamists. 

AWR Chief Editor Cornelis Hulsman, who condemns the breach of the U.S. embassy, says such distortions are commonplace among foreign media, who are suspicious of the rising influence of Islamists and are willing to bend the facts in order to undermine Egypt's current government.

But Hulsman says that such protests, which unfortunately included the burning of an American flag and the chanting of anti-Western and anti-Coptic slogans, did not occur in a vacuum but were the result of a prolonged and inappropriate campaign to stoke the religious tensions of Egyptian Muslims.

"The four together: Raymond Ibrahim, a U.S. Coptic activist, blaming Salafis: U.S. Copts accused of having produced an anti-Muslim film; a U.S. Coptic radical calling for an invasion of Egypt; and Dutch authorities apparently easing applications of Coptic asylum seekers are an explosive mix created totally by irresponsible people," says Hulsman.

AWR condemns the breach of the U.S. embassy in Cairo and the tragic death of U.S. embassy officials in Libya. It also condemns the inflammatory, anti-Islamic film that has intentionally upset the religious sensitivity of Muslims around the world. It urges Egyptian security forces to ensure that all further protests remain peaceful, and calls on Egyptian religious figures to continue to encourage restraint, particularly during planned protests on Friday.

But it also urges foreign media to stop reporting distortions and giving credence to inflammatory statements that will only strengthen extremists both in the West and in Egypt and contribute to the endless cycle of violence and prejudice.

"If we want a pluralistic world in which people of different faiths and convictions live in peace and harmony together, then the first thing that needs to be done is to provide honest and fair information," says Hulsman.

1 comment:

  1. But these soccer fans are connected with salafi, one salafi guy on twitter couple of days before 9/11 was saying that they will help them to protest for Sheikh Rahman freedom, he said "they are mean"
    So they changed only what they would protest against.
    In Libya the attack was planned before. Quite well planned.