Mohamed Bugaighis, the Bethlehem man who returned home to Libya last year to witness firsthand the fall of Moammar Gadhafi, spoke to The Morning Call Wednesday morning about the violence at the American embassy in Libya that included the death of a U.S. ambassador in Benghazi.
Bugaighis, who expressed concern a year ago that the Libyans would struggle to form a central government post-Gadhafi, said it’s the lack of a functioning government that allowed extremists to rise up and launch the attack.
Yet, Bugaighis is hopeful the actions of some – he stressed that most Libyans condemn the violence – will inspire the country to finally create a strong, democratic nation.
“There is a vacuum and these extremist elements are roaming free…they will remain a threat, but I think generally the people there are very much against them,” he said. “Sometimes you need a difficult situation to review where you stand and make adjustments and move forward. I hope his death will not be in vain.”
The death Bugaighis is referring to is Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador to Libya, who Bugaighis said he’d met a number of times during his time in Libya last year. He described him as a “gentleman” who “loved the country and the people” of Libya.
President Obama in remarks from the White House said the United States would not “waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.”
Local area U.S. lawmakers put out statements condemning the acts, but did not offer details on what should be done next by the United States.
Sen. Bob Casey, who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, said, “This senseless act of violence should not go unpunished and I urge the Administration to make every effort to ensure Libyan authorities bring the perpetrators to justice.”
And Lehigh Valley Rep. Charlie Dent said, “I demand the Libyan government thoroughly investigate this attack, apprehend those responsible for the atrocities, and ensure they face justice. The extremists who committed these murders must be punished for their despicable actions.”
Bugaighis said he hoped the Libyan people will root out the people who killed and attacked the American embassy and will not require American military intervention.
The attacks were spurred by an American-made online movie denouncing and mocking Islam and the Muslim prophet. Bugaighis urged the Muslim community to ignore such public insults.
“I advise they should just ignore these people completely and they will just go away,” he said. “Educate the people around you and then engage in dialogue. Not through violence and emotional responses, they serve no purpose, they only cause more problems.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun