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Middle East protests continue

Friday, September 14, 2012
Bill Ritters daily take on the news.

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

It's okay if you're a little nervous. The feeling is widespread. These demonstrations by fundamentalist Muslims in a growing number of Middle East countries is more than a tad unnerving.

The Arab Spring seems to have turned into Arab Senselessness. Sure some nut cases made an anti-Muslim film, but the violent protests now spreading to so many Arab countries seem a bizarre overreaction to just a film.

And it seems more than just anti-U.S. sentiment, although there are plenty of chants of "death to America."

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It is the rise of fundamentalism, and the conundrum for the rest of the Muslim world is the same as it's been for years, and especially since 9-11: If the moderates don't speak up and speak out against the fundies, then the radical Islamists win. Pure and simple. The fundamentalists represent a sliver of the Muslim population.

Those in the U.S. who try to say that Muslims are terrorists just because the terrorists are Muslims do a disservice to everyone the majority of Muslims, and to the rest of us, especially Americans.

Are we going to embrace the narrow mindedness of the terrorists' philosophy? And if we do, what does that say about us?

That's top-of-mind as we prepare our 11 p.m. newscast tonight, which will include the latest on the demonstrations and tensions in the Middle East. It will also include the sad ceremony today at Andrews Air Force Base, where the bodies of four Americans were brought home from Libya, after terrorists attacked and burned the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Chris Stevens was the first U.S. Ambassador killed in the line of duty in 3 decades.

Pres. Obama spoke, and so too did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a friend of Stevens, who made the big point that, "the people of Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia did not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob.

Reasonable people and responsible leaders in these countries need to do everything they can to restore security and hold accountable those behind these violent acts."

Mr. Obama claimed the U.S. would work to bring the killers to justice.

We'll have the latest on the crisis in the Middle East, tonight at 11. Also at 11, police in Newark are looking for the killer who gunned down a young father and by young I mean 19 at his family's bodega during an attempted robbery.

And we're in New Jersey for the annual high school football game between arch rivals Wayne Hills and Wayne Valley. Security tonight extra tight after an assault of 2 students by 8 football players last year.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's weekend AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20. And one note: this column will return on Tuesday, Sept. 18. If you celebrate it, Happy New Year.

BILL RITTER

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