In early September, an explicitly anti-Islamic YouTube video surfaced, inspiring a series of deadly attacks targeting Americans throughout the Middle East.
The controversial low-budget video, allegedly posted by radical Christian producer Sam Bacile in July, depicts the prophet Mohammad as a homosexual, pedophile, womanizer and fraud.
This video was widely acknowledged as the inciting motivation behind the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and the vehement protests outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt.
According to BBC News, during the attack in Benghazi ,assailants opened fire at the consulate and shortly after, lit the complex on fire from within. The assault resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, fellow state department colleague Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. In Cairo, there were no serious injuries or damage.
Reports have brought several Islamic extremist groups under suspicion for having facilitated the Libya attacks. According to The Washington Post, Libya National Congress President Mohamad Yusef al-Magariaf admitted that, among the 50 individuals arrested for the Benghazi violence, many of them had connections to al-Qaida.
This information, coupled with the date of the assault coinciding with the 11th anniversary of 9/11, has led many to support the possibility that the violence was not merely a result of the offensive video, but was possibly a premeditated act of terrorism.
Despite these conflicting suspicions, the fatal fallout of the video, dubbed “Innocence of Muslims” or “The Muhammad Movie,” has reverberated around the world. According to “Fox News,” anti-American demonstrations spread to Afghanistan, where protestors burned cars outside of the U.S. military base in the Afghan capital of Kabul. In northwest Pakistan, enraged protestors set fire to a government building and a press club. Outside the U.S. embassy in Indonesia, activists clashed violently with police.
Though angry demonstrators continue to punish the U.S. for the release of the privately produced and posted video, American officials have publically criticized the film while simultaneously condemning the ensuing violence.
“There is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence,” said President Barack Obama in a press conference.
According to The New York Times, Google has blocked access to the inflammatory video in Libya and Egypt, though executives refuse to remove the content from YouTube because, based on the website’s guidelines, it is not considered hate speech.