Anti-American Violence, Protests Spread From Asia To Africa
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Around the world, Friday was a day of prayers and protests.
In Maryland, there was a somber homecoming for the four Americans killed in the Libya consulate attack. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared words of praise and comfort for the fallen patriots.
Meanwhile, the anti-American protests were spreading and showing no signs of letting up. More than a dozen countries from Asia to Africa are now engulfed in a wave of violence, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
With violent protests sweeping through some 20 countries, it was a grim President Obama who went to Andrews Air Force Base to accept the remains of former Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the three other Americans killed with him in what authorities think was part of an al-Qaida mission.
“Four Americans, four patriots … they loved this country and they chose to serve it. They didn’t simply embrace the American ideal, they lived it,” the president said.
As the flag-draped caskets were brought home — the most visible sign of the of the wave of anti-American riots sweeping though some Muslim countries to protest a film which Muslims believe insults the prophet Muhammad — there was a stern warning from the commander in chief.
“Justice will come to those who harm Americans,” Obama said.
The protests ranged from Gaza and the West Bank to Lebanon and then to Iraq, where they burned American and Israeli flags, to Yemen, where tear gas and water cannons were fired on 200,000 protestors and Marines were sent in to help, and then to Egypt where authorities blocked the route to the U.S. Embassy.
But here in New York the Friday prayer service at the Islamic Center of Long Island contained a message of calm, a message American leaders hope their brothers hear across the globe.
“Dialogue is the right thing to do, not burning you own buildings and killing innocent people. It is a sin in Islam,” said Habeeb Ahmed of the Islamic Center of Long Island.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that given the religious intolerance in the Muslim world, he was saddened but not surprised at the uproar.
“If you were to make that movie that’s exactly what you would have expected, people dying in the end, and what these countries overseas, sadly, haven’t learned is that if they want the freedoms to practice their religion they have to protect other people that have different religions,” Bloomberg said.
Marymount Manhattan professor Dr. Ghassan Shabaneh said the protestors are just a fringe group and do not represent the larger majorities and societies of the counties they live in.
“You know, Egypt has 91 million. When we see 100,000 doing it, it is not reflective of all of the Egyptians. Libya has 20 million. When we see 50,000 in the street it is not reflective of all Libyans,” Dr. Shabaneh said.
Sources told CBS 2’s Kramer that because the maker of the prophet film has been identified and an Egyptian Coptic Christian, the NYPD has stepped up protection at the five Coptic Christian churches in the city.
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