Local Libyans say violence does not reflect who Libyans are

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MILWAUKEE -- As an anti-Islam video continued to spawn protests and violence around the region, Libya's prime minister said Thursday at least one person has been arrested -- and others were in authorities' sights -- tied to the killings of a U.S. ambassador and three others this week. There are many in Libya offering their sympathies to the United States following the attacks as some in Wisconsin with ties to Libya say this violence does not reflect who they are.

Ali Hatab never got to meet U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in person, but he says he knows of him very well. Hatab says Stevens was loved by the people of Libya -- the country where Hatab was born and where he still has family.

"He was a wonderful man. He has done a lot of great things for Libya. In my view, he's a beacon of life. Like Hillary Clinton stated, we need a lot of Christopher Stevens around the world. The world would be a better place," Hatab said.

Hatab helped to start the Libyan-American Organization earlier this year to help bridge the gap between the two countries. He says the people of Libya have never been able to participate in their government and building a new, stable one will take time.

"As any revolution goes through, there are some bumps in the road, but I hope everybody will come forward and this will not stop us from moving forward," Hatab said.

Othman Atta with the Islamic Society of Milwaukee says Libyans actually have a more positive view of the United States because they understand the U.S. helped get rid of Muammar Gadafi. Atta points out the attacks were the work of a small group of extremists and the attacks show there is more educating that needs to be done.

"Whether educating our fellow American citizens here that these extremists do no represent all Muslims and educating Muslims that extremists in the U.S. and other places do not represent all Americans," Atta said.

Both Hatab and Atta say even though Libya is not the safest or most stable country right now, they believe Libya is headed in the right direction.

The men also say they hope justice will be served in terms of those responsible for the attacks so Libya and the U.S. can heal.

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