According to al-Jazeera’s correspondent in Benghazi, Suleiman Idrissi, “At about 11.30 pm a group of people calling themselves Islamic law (Sharia) supporters heard there would be an American movie insulting the prophet Muhammad. Once they heard this news they came out out of their military garrison, and went into the streets calling on people to go ahead and attack the American consulate in Benghazi.”
Rocket-propelled grenades were fired from a farm next door to the consulate. Video clips on al-Jazeera show men walking through the consulate gardens in front of the burning buildings.
Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was on a short visit to Benghazi, is reported to have died from smoke inhalation, along with an American computer expert at the consulate, Sean Smith, and two security guards.
The Internet has been swarming with rumors and debates on Wednesday, over the true identity of Sam Bacile, proud director of a truly stupid movie titled “Innocence of Islam,” 13 minutes of which he shared with the world. He introduced himself to several news reporters, over the phone from his “hideout,” as a Jew and an Israeli, adding that the funding for his film came from 100 Jewish donors.
As Facebook is becoming filled with pages titled “We hate Sam Bacile,” “America deport Sam Bacile,” and “Who wants to kill Sam Bacile,” to name only a few, Jews everywhere are praying that Sam Bacile is not Jewish. We really don’t need the extra tzuris. Which explains the Facebook page “Israelis, Jews & Americans Against Sam Bacile’s ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Film.”
Sarah Posner of religiondispatches.org listed many contradictions in the Sam Bacile news narrative: in one account he is 52 and in another he is 56. To the AP he is “a California real estate developer who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew” and to the Times of Israel he is “Jewish and familiar with the region.” And what about that bit at the end of the statement to the Times of Israel–that “even Jesus” should be “in front of the judge”? That sounds like someone who is trying to provoke more than just Muslims. A lot of things don’t add up here about the claimed identity of the filmmaker.
I’ve no idea if any of Posner’s points are truly problematic, she is touching a notion most of us, news junkies, have had all day regarding this guy: something about him doesn’t smell right.
Statement by the President on the Attack in Benghazi
I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.
I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.