LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Muslim and Coptic Orthodox Christian leaders joined forces in downtown Los Angeles today to condemn the anti-American violence flaring in Muslim countries and the anti-Muslim film clip that triggered it.
“There should have been no bloodshed,” said Maher Hathout, an Egyptian-born physician who speaks for the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Southern California. “As a matter of fact, there should have been no reaction to such an insignificant production.
“… We are here also to condemn putting prejudice and hate in a … production to insult certain group … (based) on the noble concept of freedom of speech,” he said. “This is hate speech and it is instigation kind of speech. Nonetheless, people talk and if we don’t like what they say, we go to
the teachings of our prophet.”
Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Tripoli, was killed along with three other State Department employees Sept. 11 in an attack on the American Consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi by a heavily armed force coinciding with a demonstration. He is believed to have died of smoke inhalation.
An anti-American demonstration also took place Sept. 11 in Cairo, where the U.S. Embassy was breached but did not come under gunfire.
The demonstrations were sparked by a supposed movie trailer for “The Innocence of Muslims”–it’s not clear that an entire movie really exists–that was
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, an Egyptian Copt and naturalized U.S. citizen who has been identified as one of the makers of the film, was escorted from his home in Cerritos just after midnight Saturday by deputies who took him to their station for questioning by his federal probation officer.
Federal probation officials in Los Angeles are investigating if Nakoula violated his probation stemming from an earlier bank fraud conviction, authorities said. Under the terms of his probation, he was not supposed to use the internet without permission. He remains out of the public eye.
During today’s news conference on the south lawn of City Hall, Bishop Serapion, the spiritual leader of the Coptic Orthodox church in Los Angeles, said the church condemns any denigration of any religion.
“We strongly condemn any and all violent reaction and the loss of innocent lives,” he said. “… We mourn the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and his staff and offer our heartfelt condolences to their families. We cannot allow the action of a few … fanatical individuals to define our communities. Those individuals are responsible for their actions, which cannot be reflected on the respectable communities they claim to be members of.”