Protesters attacked U.S. government buildings in Egypt and Libya Tuesday night, The Rachel Maddow Show reported. A single Libyan security official is reported to have said that armed militiamen had killed a staff member at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Libyan security officials apparently did little to stop the attack.
The protesters were reacting to the 14-minute trailer, posted on YouTube, for an English-language film called Innocence of Islam. The film reportedly depicts and mocks the Prophet Muhammad, which is blasphemous in the Muslim faith. The Egyptian media reported that Washington-based members of the Coptic Christian community had produced the film, which led a mob to climb the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and tear down the American flag. The crowd apparently chanted, "We Are All Osama," a reference to Osama Bin Laden. An Egyptian official, speaking anonymously, said the protest was allowed at first because it was "peaceful."
Tensions between Christians and Muslims in Egypt have been troubled for years. In August, 16 people were killed near Cairo when Muslim rioters attacked Christian churches and homes. The assault was reportedly motivated by the death of a Muslim man during an earlier altercation.