Oops, it actually was kind of 'interesting' in Libya and Egypt...

Uh-oh. We had just taken heart that the 9-11 anniversary in New York was low-key and uneventful. And now we just got news that hearkens back to the 2010 anniversary, with its depressing controversy over some wacky preacher's threat to do a mass Koran burning, sparking deadly violence in Afghanistan. Now BBC News reports that a US official was killed when the consulate was overrun by protesters in Benghazi—over some wacky film dissing the Prophet Mohammed produced by some stateside Islamophobic idiots. There were similar protests at the US embassy in Cairo, where the situation is especially depressing because a rumor (based on a slim kernel of truth) seems to have implicated the Coptic Christians, who were already in a precarious situation in Egypt. Background is provided the New York Times' The Lede blog, which also notes that Terry Jones makes cameo in the ugly affair...

A 14-minute trailer for the English-language film, which was posted on YouTube in July, attracted little attention until last week, when a version dubbed into Arabic was posted on the same YouTube channel and then copied and viewed tens of thousands of times more.

Although there was initial confusion about who made the film, The Wall Street Journal reported that the drama, titled "Innocence of Muslims," was produced and directed by an Israeli-American, Sam Bacile, a California real-estate developer who called Islam "a cancer," in an interview. Mr. Bacile told The Journal that he raised $5 million from about 100 Jewish donors and shot the two-hour movie in California last year.

Last week, an Egyptian-American Copt known for his broadsides against Muslims drew attention to the trailer in an Arabic-language blog post and an e-mail newsletter in English publicizing the latest publicity stunt of the Florida pastor Terry Jones, reviled in the Muslim world for burning copies of the Koran. Reached by telephone in Florida, a representative of Mr. Jones seemed unaware of the film, but hours later the pastor sent The Lede a statement by e-mail in which he complained of the attack on the embassy in Cairo and announced plans to screen the trailer for the film on Tuesday night. He said that it "reveals in a satirical fashion the life of Muhammad."

The Coptic activist, Morris Sadek, did not respond to a request for an interview, but he is an ally of Mr. Jones and his blog post features a photograph of the two men at a tiny, anti-Islam protest outside the White House in June. Later, he told The Associated Press that he planned screenings of the film.

Although Mr. Sadek never claimed in his e-mail promoting Mr. Jones to have produced the movie — which dramatizes the life of Muhammad, incorporating scenes based on slurs about him that are often repeated by Islamophobes — three days after he passed around a link to the film's trailer, a Cairo newspaper reported that the leader of an Egyptian political party had "denounced the production of the film with the participation of vengeful Copts, accompanied by the extremist priest Terry Jones."

The same day, a scene from the film — in which an actor playing a buffoonish caricature of the prophet Muhammad calls a donkey "the first Muslim animal" — was broadcast on the Egyptian television channel Al-Nas by the host Sheikh Khaled Abdalla.

If there is, contrary to all evidence, a just God—let there be a special place in Hell for Sam Bacile, Terry Jones, Morris Sadek and Sheikh Khaled Abdalla.


Benghazi: armed uprising?

As more reports emerge from Benghazi, it seems more like an armed uprising than a mob attack. The death toll at the US consulate is now up to three, including the ambassador, Christopher Stevens, who was envoy to the opposition during last year's revolution. The "protesters" were evidently heavily armed, including with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Nor was this the first such incident in the city. On June 11, an RPG was fired at Dominic Asquith, the British ambassador to Libya, as he drove through Benghazi. The US is sending a Marine "anti-terrorism" unit to Libya.

About 24 hours before the consulate attack, al-Qaeda apparently posted to Islamist Web forums a video in which its leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, acknowledged the death in a US  drone strike in June of his Libyan deputy, Abu Yahya al-Libi, and called on Libyans to avenge the death. (Reuters, NYTThe Telegraph, Stars and Stripes, Sept. 12)