In the Tale of ‘Innocence of Muslims,’ neither Party is Innocent

If the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH, as they say) was alive today, I feel that even he might be disgusted by the shame that has happened “in his honor” this past week.

Even if the violent quotes that are attributed to him are true.

Angry protests in Yemen where vehicles were burned and the US Embassy stormed, one protester dying in the clashes in the street. The US Embassy was overrun in Cairo as protesters scaled the walls, burned American flags and generally caused mayhem in the streets (still in effect) with the police on their heels in scenes reminiscent of the January 25th protests. In Libya, three rockets were shot into the US Embassy in Benghazi, killing four people, including the American Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

Protesters on the US embassy wall in Cairo. Sourced from arabstoday.net

The cause of these incidents wasn’t a corrupt dictator, or a promise gone unfulfilled by the administration, but rather a film. Innocence of Muslims, which I viewed on youtube, is a roughly 13-minute mere “clip” that tells the story of Mohammad, except that this is no exaltation of Islam’s most revered prophet: instead, he is made out to be a violent, sexist, pedophilic monster. Quite amateurish, there is nothing to enjoy in this film: the dialogue is baseless; the acting is stunted and awkward; and the clip was clearly filmed on  a greenscreen as the visuals are badly animated. The film is not solely ‘instructive,’ as one would assume was it’s ‘goal,’ because, firstmost, it is inaccurate and, secondly, it sadly attempts at humour. The humour is not funny, as when the prophet is referred to as a ‘bastard” even by what appears to be a fellow female slave (note: he was not a slave).

All in all, this film is so pathetic  that one questions why it would have incited such ire amongst Muslims. You just can’t take it seriously, even though the intentions behind it were no doubt serious.

I almost didn’t write this post, in fact, because the situation is just too ridiculous. It kind of makes me feel that those of us who try to promote peace and dialogue are fighting a losing battle. Sometimes I feel that we are the stupid ones, the irrational ones.

The Muslim protesters have, without a doubt, acted irrationally. I understand they felt insulted, but their behavior is loathsome. I do not understand, firstly, why they have attacked US embassies. The film was made in the United States, but that does not mean that the US government supported it. Hillary Clinton, for one , publicly denounced it. It might have not even been produced in a studio: any high school student taking film could have made it. Furthermore, the clip would never habe been distributed widely; at the most, it may have been shown once at an extremely indie, underground art house. Therefore, I find it odd that the protesters (who, curiously, were most violent in the three countries that experienced signifant revolutionary change during the Arab Spring-Egypt, Libya and Yemen, although publicly anti-American Iran witnessed citizens in the streets burning American flags as well) attacked American embassies. Why did they not attack Israel’s embassy in Cairo? THe filmmaker is purported to be Sam Bacile, an Israeli-American Jew, although rumour has it that this may be a pseudnym for Coptic Christian leader Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

All I would like to ask Mr. Bacile/Nakoula is one thing: why? Why did you have to make this awful film that doesn’t even properly argue your points? I understand (and approve) that here in the United States we have the freedom of speech and can produce whatever type of film we want, regardless if it will be distributed or not. But why promote such hate and rancor, and why do it in such a unintelligent, rude manner? Innocence of Muslims seems to be releaded solely for provocation, and provoke it did. Sadly, the Egyptian and Libyan protesters appeared to affirm that Islam just might truly be a violent religion with their subsequent actions.

What will happen next? These countries cannot afford to ruin public alliances and world support, but the particular killing of the American Ambassaor to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was a terrible blow to international relations between America and the countries of the Middle East. All governments should keep in mind Ambassador Stevens’ motto. According to CNN’s Zain Verjee,

“Chris was passionate about Libya. He cared about the people and saw hope in its future. He told me he knew the dangers but was committed to democracy and diplomacy above all.”

S-L-M

Links:

1. http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/12/world/africa/libya-us-ambassador-killed-profile/index.html

2. http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/52816.aspx

2. http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/52852/World/International/US-police-protect-suspected-antiIslam-filmmaker.aspx

4. http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/52776/World/Region/Yemeni-police-drive-protesters-out-of-US-embassy-A.aspx

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3 thoughts on “In the Tale of ‘Innocence of Muslims,’ neither Party is Innocent

  1. Amazing post, and I totally agree. Richard Dawkins discussed this in his book as well that for a religion that promotes peace, there sure is a whole lot of angry violent protesting that demonstrates the opposite (as seen in the case of the danish cartoons).

    Sigh.

    My Muslim community. Now can you see why I choose to distance myself from them? 😀

    Pink.

    1. Ah yes how could I forget the Danish cartoons (or the bombing of French paper Charlie Hebdo’s offices for their cartoon cover of the Prophet)–it makes me sad that people just can’t be peaceful, I swear the more I read about these protests/the filmmaker the more my blood just boils until I don’t feel peaceful, either! lol!

      1. Your writing is practically the only journalism I read nowadays as even the commentary regarding the protests and Muslims has been quite insulting, especially in Calgary. Sigh. At the same time, the behavior of many Muslims could be more peaceful demonstrations rather than violence that really, just begets more hate. It’s so sad. And well for me, slightly embarrassing as my headscarf seems to represent this vulgarity of actions and targeting of such as well. Eesh….. I need to wear Hello Kitty ears on top. You know, get the sense of humor going. Make us realize we all take ourselves too seriously… and at the same time, focus on bigger issues like world hunger, genocides… etc….

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