This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.
The slaughter of Americans in Libya on Tuesday follows a familiar plot. It goes like this:
One of the world’s more than 300 million Americans does something to insult Islam. The act of desecration goes viral on the Internet and other media. Muslim militants assign guilt to the entire United States. Mobs rampage; people die.
Fill in the blank: Irreverent cartoons. Quran-burning by a jackleg preacher. Quran-burning by clueless soldiers. This time, a foul “movie trailer” that ridicules Muhammad in almost every possible way in a few minutes.
And now a U.S. ambassador and four other Americans are dead, killed in Benghazi in a riot that appears to have been exploited by al-Qaida-style jihadists. Another riot in Cairo targeted the American embassy there, though there were no deaths.
The supposed trailer for something called “Innocence of Muslims” couldn’t have been better designed to incite anti-American rage in Islamic countries. Conspiracy-minded people might conclude that it was produced by al-Qaida itself.
So far, there’s little evidence of an actual movie. The short, amateurish video – obviously made on the cheap – depicts Muhammad as a lecherous, murderous buffoon.
Someone who calls himself Sam Bacile – who presents himself as both an Israeli Jew and an American – uploaded it to YouTube. The Israeli government says it has no record of such a person.
To compound the outrage, Terry Jones – the Florida preacher who staged a Quran-burning last year – has jumped in front of the cameras to endorse the video. Jones’ desecration of the Quran in 2011 triggered riots in Afghanistan that left a dozen people died.
Worst of America, meet the worst of Islam.
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