Protests sweep Islamic world, fueled by domestic politics, anti-US anger
Protesters who attacked embassies and clashed with police in at least 17 Muslim countries outraged by more than an anti-Islam video.
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"Our religion does not urge us to kill innocent people," says Mr. Aadas. "Today's demonstration is a message to the Western regimes in general and it is not directed against the people. We know that many Americans sympathize with the Palestinians and I have met many of them personally in Gaza."Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Anger across the Muslim world
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Fundamentalism emerges on the political scene
Anti-US grievances vary from country to country, and are compounded in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria by a strong fundamentalist element that has emerged on the political scene. The assault on the US Consulate in Benghazi occurred just hours after Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called on pro-Al Qaeda groups to "kill the crusaders" to avenge the death in a drone strike of a Libyan leader of the Al Qaeda.
Many Libyans have responded with shock, sadness, and embarrassment to Tuesday's attack. In Benghazi, people took to the streets, with one sign reading in English: "Sorry People of America this is not the behavior of our ISLAM and Profit [sic]."
"It may have been last minute, but people felt they should do something that very day," says Lamia Abusedra, a culture ministry official from Benghazi. In the days since the attack, Libyans have come forth to voice their regret and insist that Islam is a peaceful religion.
Partially as a result of the US-led NATO effort that ensured the fall of dictator Muammar Qaddafi last year, Libya remains one Arab nation with widespread pro-American sentiment. But Salafist groups and armed militias, the Islamists often harboring anti-US feelings, continue to roam Libya, though authorities today announced the arrest of four suspects in the Benghazi attack.
"In today's sermon, the sheikh spoke against what happened on [Sept. 11], and about the rights of both citizens and foreigners," says Talal Giuma, co-founder of a children's health charity and teacher on Muslim-Christian relations at Tripoli's Algeria Square mosque.
"There's a religious principle that not to thank those who bring you into being is like ingratitude toward God," says Mr. Giuma. "America supported the rebels in the war against Qaddafi, and we should be grateful."
Other Libyans have taken to the Internet to send messages of condolence – and to address those who supported the attack.
"The victory of the prophet is not through breaking, burning, looting, and theft," says one Arabic message that circulated on Facebook. "Those who truly want his victory will make known his mores, life and message."