A disturbing video has emerged on Youtube which depicts a group of Libyan men and boys, apparently Muslims, destroying a cemetery where lie the remains of Christian and Jewish soldiers of the British Empire who died in the region during the Second World War. Some of the marauders wielded sledgehammers to break up the simple white headstones of the servicemen, while others toppled them with kicks from boots besmeared with the barren red clay in the final resting place of the British and allied service members.
The fury occurred on March 2, and apparently came as retribution for the burning of retired copies of the Koran by U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Muslims worldwide were offended by the burning, despite efforts by the United States to allay offended sentiments. President Barack Obama found himself apologizing, once more, for alleged American desecration of Islam’s holy book, conveying his apologies to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the unintentional burning of the Korans at NATO's main Bagram air base after Afghan laborers found charred copies while collecting rubbish. White House spokesman Jay Carney tried to further express White House contrition, saying “It is wholly appropriate, the sensitivities to this issue, the understandable sensitivities.”
Muslims streamed into the streets in Kabul, crying ‘Allahu akbar’ and calling for the death of any U.S. service personnel associated with the alleged desecration of the Koran. U.S. intelligence had found extremist and coded messages in the copies of the books, thus making their destruction necessary. Following the incident, a trusted Afghan military man shot to death two U.S. army officers in a secured area in the Afghan capital city.
The desecration of graves by Muslims took place at the Benghazi Military Cemetery, where lie the remains of British and Allied military personnel who fought to liberate Libya from the grip of Fascist and Nazi occupiers in some of the most furious combat of the Second World War. Dozens of headstones were broken and tumped over in the cemetery, as recorded by a gleeful cameraman who joined in the desecration.
In the video, one of the assailants could be heard saying “Israelites! Hebrews!” in apparent reference to some of the gravestones, which bore the respective symbols of the Jewish and Christian dead at the cemetery. A Christian cross that soared over the cemetery on a perimeter walled was not spared as the marauders used sledge hammers to break off the upper third of the cross. Pieces of the carved stone symbol were scattered on the ground. The base of the cross was hacked with hammers, but remained standing at the end of the rampage.
Libya saw considerable turmoil in 2011 with the fall of dictator Muammar Gadhafi, in a coup d’etat aided by the United States and Western allies. Insurgents, drawn from disaffected Libyan military and civilians, fought throughout most of 2011 in what was believed to be a democratic revolution.