A local professor is speaking out about the violent attacks at the U.S. Consulate in Libya that left four Americans dead.
Queens University professor Dr. Mohammed el-Nawawy spent the study in Cairo, Egypt, studying political blogging in connection with the Arab Spring.
El-Nawawy said Middle Eastern sentiments toward the United States were generally positive when he left Egypt.
However, he said when news spread of a provocative American movie about the Islamic prophet Muhammad, anger grew towards the U.S.
"I can see where the Muslims are coming from in protesting a movie that insults their religion and their prophet," el-Nawawy said.
Still, el-Nawawy said, the outbreak of violence after the protests in Egypt and Libya was horrifying, and the anger at the U.S. government was misdirected.
"I'm opposed to any violent protests that lead to killings … the U.S. government has nothing to do with that movie," el-Nawawy said.
He hopes the future of U.S. relations with Libya and other Middle Eastern countries is not marred by the killings.
"The $5 million spent to produce that movie, to alienate and divide people ... I think the money could have been better spent on reaching out, building bridges and engaging in constructive dialogue," el-Nawawy said.