Richmond-area Imam ashamed attackers cloaked themselves in Islam

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The latest unrest across the Mideast including the death Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other Americans in Libya is troubling to one spiritual leader here in the Richmond area.

The attackers were apparently upset over a movie produced here in the United States depicting the prophet Mohamed in a negative light, but there are also reports that the attack was a well coordinated effort to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11.

CBS 6 News talked with a Richmond-area Imam from the Islamic Center of Virginia and asked him about the attacks, the death of the Americans and the movie that was supposedly the flashpoint of the latest upheaval in the Mideast.

“You have to understand, there are people out there intentionally provoking ignorant folk on different sides,” said Imam Ammar Amonette. “People of different religions and cultures against each other and they’re trying to stoke the fires and spreading misinformation. It is very important… for people to verify information and not to react to provocations. And we defend the right of anyone to disagree with our religion — or any other religion.”

Additionally, Amonette said he was ashamed to learn that the attackers were cloaking themselves in Islam. He said often times while we celebrate our freedom of speech people coming out of repressive countries or dictatorships can’t wrap their arms around it and pin the blame on America as a whole.

“We would hope that people have a dialogue about mutual respect of symbols of other people like the flag or religious symbol and the responsible use of freedom of speech and the importance of educating people about freedom of speech,” said Amonette.

Stay with CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for continuing coverage of this developing story.

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