Libyan-Americans hold memorial for slain ambassador

by: Carl Willis Updated:


ATLANTA - A group of Libyan-Americans held a memorial ceremony Saturday night for the Americans killed in an attack in Libya.

Their message was one of peace. Many of those who gathered outside of Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta said the rising tension in their native county was troubling them.   

As tempers flared at anti-American protests across the world, members of the Libyan-American community in Atlanta paused for a moment of silence.

They said they wanted to reflect on the four lives that were lost in their native country during an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi.

"It's happened and it was an awful thing that happened," said Nadia Mahmoud. "Now, it's like we've got to take control of our country."

Mahmoud, whose family is from Tripoli, joined the crowd as they lit candles and waved American and Libyan flags.

Mahmoud said the loss of Ambassador Chris Stevens was especially painful after his instrumental role in the revolution that ousted Muamar Gaddafi.

"Chris Stevens was very loved," she said. "He was one of us. A lot of people are very upset that we lost someone so special and dear to us."

Friday, Libya's Deputy Interior Minister said an organized attack was timed to happen on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

He said militants used civilians protesting a film that mocked the Prophet Muhammad as cover for their actions.

"These people are trying to stop the relationship (with the U.S.) from going forward and trying to stop the progress of the Muslim world everywhere," said Juma Khamis, President of the Libyan-American Association of Georgia.

As tensions rise, and Marines moved in to Libya and Yemen, where another embassy was attacked, local demonstrators said they would pray for peace.

"We are standing hand in hand with the American people against the terrorists all over the world," said Khamis.