Anti-Muhammad film used as excuse for anti-American violence in Libya
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 20:09
Over the past week Americans have sat in disbelief at the Muslim world’s reaction to a crudely made film, “Innocence of Muslims,” that seems to make fun of the prophet Muhammad.
The American ambassador to Libya, along with three other Americans, were killed in an assault that seemed to have come out of nowhere. There were a number of other attacks in places like Yemen, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Iraq. However, some speculation is coming out that these attacks may have been premeditated to coincide with the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Putting the odd coincidence with the somber remembrances aside, let’s look at the rest of the situation. A Coptic Christian immigrant named Abenob Nakoula Bassely has been credited with financing the film that was made in California. In an interview with people close to Bassely on NPR, it was said that the movie was more of retribution for how the Coptics are treated in Muslim countries. Therefore, the setup is that one person of a religion, who just so happens to live in America, has made a film that degrades another religion as a form of protest.
Having only heard of the nature of the material in the film’s trailer, one could only assume how low budget and extremely offensive it must be to Muslims.
However, Bassely, who now lives in America, is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. He has a right to free speech, no matter how much others don’t like it. Just as white supremacists, neo-Nazis, the Black Panthers, the Klu Klux Klan or any other hate group that can be thought of, do too.
Many Americans do not abuse their First Amendment rights as many hate groups do, but we hold the right to be able to speak our mind pretty sacred. Most of us also find the movie that has the rest of the world upset just as offensive.
In contrast, nothing seems to be off the table anymore when it comes to entertainment.
Jesus, Buddha, the Pope, God and many other religious figures have been portrayed in a wide variety of media, including cartoons, movies, books and plays.
Muslims hold the belief that no likeness of Muhammad should ever be seen. A few years ago, when “South Park” was set to show the prophet, the uproar it caused forced Trey Parker and Matt Stone to “cover” their Muhammad with a bear suit.
Back to the current portrayal, this movie was made by one man with the help of a small number of crew and actors.
The ambassador killed did not film it. Nor did any of the others who have been injured or hurt in the week’s events. They did not endorse, promote and may have not even heard of it when they were attacked by what now seems to be groups of opportunists. Many of the people involved even claim that they had no knowledge of the true meaning of the film. The only person who seems happy about the reaction is the Gainesville, Fla., preacher who burned a Quran last year.
The deaths of uninvolved people since last Tuesday over a movie trailer put on YouTube reminds me of the old saying “the pot calling the kettle black.” After the Twin Towers fell and Americans became increasingly suspicious of all Muslim-looking people (because many of those targeted weren’t even Muslim), thinking they were all terrorists, many Americans said that to judge the whole group by the actions of few was wrong.
Many Muslims asked to not be judged by the actions of fanatics. Yet here the world sits watching protests and attacks against people who had nothing to do with an opinionated home video which sole purpose was to spread hate.
On the contrary, to sit here and lump all Muslims together again as perpetrators of violence is wrong. Clerical leaders and Quran scholars have said that this violence goes against the teachings of their holy book and the words of the prophet himself. This returns us to the notion groups of troublemakers have taken something that would have disappeared if it had been paid no attention and used it as a scape goat for inciting anti-American violence. The people who do not like the movie have their right to be angry, their right to protest, their right to freedom of expression, just as the person who made it does, but what none of us has is the right to kill people.
Our hearts go out to all victims of this senseless violence over the past few weeks and their families, regardless of nationality or religion.