In recent years, Islamists have threatened and attacked numerous critics of Islam. For example, Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris went underground in 2010 after Islamists threatened her for urging cartoonists to defy Islamic objections to the ridicule of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. In 2012, an American Muslim convert was sentenced to 11 years in jail for threatening to attack the producers of the “South Park” cartoon.
Around the Mediterranean, the growing role of popular Islamist movements is eclipsing the threat posed by the non-government al-Qaida Islamist group, and seems set to spur many conflicts with the U.S.
However, the attacks on the embassies may also create difficulties for Obama’s reelection, just as the rise of Islamists in Iran during President Jimmy Carter’s term helped cause his loss in the 1980 election. Carter did not oppose the Iranian Islamists’ power grab, and they subsequently took hostage the staff of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.