Arab-American and Muslim leaders in metro Detroit condemned the attacks on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya that resulted in the death of a U.S. ambassador and three staffers.
"There is no justification for such wanton violence that led to the deaths of innocent Americans in Libya," said Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The attacks on the embassies may have been prompted by an anti-Islam film produced by an Israeli filmmaker based in California who says he financed the movie with 100 Jewish donors, according to the Associated Press. The filmmaker told the Associated Press that "Islam is a cancer, period."
The movie negatively depicts Islam’s prophet, Mohammed; Muslims believe that any artistic depiction of Mohammed is wrong.
Regardless, Muslims should not react violently when Mohammed is attacked, Walid said. They should “return insults with righteousness, not with criminality,” said Walid, who often lectures about Islam across Michigan.
Islam’s holy book, the Quran, says that killing one innocent person is "like killing all of humankind," Walid added.
Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, also condemned the violence.
“Any act of violence towards a civilian or diplomat should not be tolerated, condoned or justified under any circumstance,” said Hamad.
The attacks were “alarming because it’s a reflection of the resentment of a certain groups that continue to target us as Americans,” he said. “It should be taken seriously by the administration.”
Regarding the anti-Islam film, Hamad said it’s part of a pattern of anti-Islam rhetoric from extremists.
“This is not sparking constructive dialogue and debate that enhances co-existence and mutual respect,” Hamad said. “People are free to debate, but do it in an ethical, professional, constructive, objective fashion.”
Hamad also cautioned that the facts of what exactly happened in Libya are not yet fully clear. The attacks may have been done by people looking to promote division, he said.
“We’re dealing with a very chaotic situation in Libya,” Hamad said. “There are a wide range of possibilities” as to what may have caused the attack.
In a statement, the president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Detroit, Sharon Lipton, said the council “condemns in the strongest terms the cowardly terrorist attack in Libya that killed four brave American diplomats." Lipton said the council “also condemns the destructive demonstrations at the U.S. consulate in Libya and the American embassy in Egypt.”
“Reprehensible as the anti-Muslim film that sparked the demonstrations may be, violence in the defense of Islam or any other faith tradition is contrary to those traditions’ values,” Lipton added.
Other groups in metro Detroit also condemned the attacks.
A group of imams with the Michigan Muslim Community Council said in a statement: “On behalf of the imams and the Muslim community we offer our condolences and deepest sympathies to the family of Ambassador Stevens and other victims of violence as we pray for peace and a world free of hate and bigotry.”
The Lebanese American Heritage Club, based in Dearborn, said it “extends its deepest condolences to the families of those killed.” And it “urges Muslims around the world to always react with wisdom against any ignorant attack on any religion” that is done “with the intention to promote division and hate.”