Responding to the Vile ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Film

There a a number of observations that are worth making about the trashy film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ that appears to have been made in the US by an obscure little group:

1. There is no question that the film – at least the 13 minutes  extract that has been posted on YouTube – is disgusting and reprehensible. Whoever was responsible for it is an utter cretin.

2. Muslims everywhere have the right to protest against the film to make clear their denunciation of the film and those responsible for it.

3. There can be no excuse for attacking foreign Embassies as we saw in Libya, Sudan, Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere. The murder of the US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three of his colleagues was unacceptable and the Libyan authorities have a responsibility to bring all those involved to justice.

4. The Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan surely got the balance right when he clearly condemned those behind the film while also making clear that unlawful acts committed during protests were unacceptable.

5. It was important and right that the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and President Obama both loudly condemned the film and made clear that the US government did not endorse it and indeed regarded it as reprehensible.

6. The US government is correct when it says that its laws on freedom of speech mean that idiots like those behind the film can unfortunately abuse those freedoms to denigrate others. We may not like the fact that the law can be abused in this way but the law is there for an important reason. Changing the law to prohibit ‘insults’ – as some Muslim groups appear to be calling for – is not the best way to proceed as it will do far greater harm than good. Remember that the Islamophobic Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, wants to introduce a ban on the Qur’an because he deems it ‘insulting’ to Jews and non-Muslims.

7. The film is only the latest in a series of very racist and Islamophobic incidents in the US recently. A recent advert that was published on buses by a group linked to the bigot Pamela Geller described opponents of Israel as ‘savages’. US government officials have a duty to challenge this bigotry just as they would challenge anti-semitism etc.

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7 Responses to Responding to the Vile ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Film

  1. Brendan says:

    Inayat, some good points, thanks. I watched the trailer as well its utter playground puerility, how anyone can take it seriously is almost inexplicable which is why the murders it apparently inspired are much worse than the worthless film. I think what you are saying about new generations of thinking Muslims is very important. My own view is that Mohammed in particular will remain a deeply controversial figure to non-Muslims, his life and times will (if freedom prevails) provoke on-going debate and challenging questions that some Muslims will invariably find uncomfortable to say the least, but what is the alternative? Thinking Christians in the West and the ‘East’ have long since learned to manage, reflect, and evaluate all kind of criticisms, critiques and outright abuse without resorting to the incitement of violence. I hope that this can one day be true of Islam as well, the world wil be a better place for it.

  2. Robert says:

    I don’t know about Muslims being offended but i could only watch a couple of minutes of the Movie (i use that word very loosley),it only took that long to decide it was only suitable for the editing bin.

    The thing is,if the overboard attention to it hadn’t happened i doubt i would have even heard of it,the the killers of the Embassy Staff may have thought it a great vehicle to incite violence and hatred towards the USA just as the makers of the Movie hoped for the same towards Islam,the Movie itself under any other circumstance isn’t really worth comment at all.

    The Satanic verses written by Salman Rushdie was,i thought,a reasonable read but due to some conservative Muslims and the Ayatollah Khomeini Salman Rushdie spent years in hiding because of the Fatwah issued on his life,perhaps the easiest solution would be to not read the book or watch the Movie,the book was certainly not meant to incite violence,the Movie IMO was but the Law in America can take care of that,its certainly isn’t the business of “political Islam” or indeed anybody who doesn’t hold free speech as a hard earned right.

    • Jack Holt says:

      A superb article:

      “Perhaps we must react not only to deflect the negative light others throw on our faith but consistently, together shine one on those injustices regularly taking place in the Muslim world.”

      A Western form of Islam should embrace Western Enlightenment values and push for their introduction worldwide, it shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the regimes of its co-religionists.

  3. Uthmān says:

    The violent protests were indeed wrong from both from an Islamic standpoint (how would the Prophet have responded?) and even a strategic viewpoint (what did they hope to achieve? Have they made things better or worse?).

    There is a case to be made though, that these protests that erupted in the Middle East were not just the result of this poorly produced film, but were the accumulated reaction to decades of humiliation and oppression that these people have suffered with US complicity. The film was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”, so to speak, as Myriam Francois-Cerrah elucidates in her article here: http://myriamfrancoiscerrah.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/demonstrating-for-dignity-why-are-muslims-so-enraged/

    Please don’t mistake her article as in any way justifying the violence, but rather as providing an explanation for why it occurred.

    • Jack Holt says:

      The violence isn’t just ‘wrong’, it is grotesque and disgusting, far worse than the offence caused by a puerile film.

      Inayat says: “2. Muslims everywhere have the right to protest against the film to make clear their denunciation of the film and those responsible for it.”

      But where is the sense of proportionality? If a child shouts an insult at you, do you think it might be a little OTT to summon your extended family to attend mass protests against him, his parents, his friends and the parents of his friends? Wouldn’t it be more proportionate simply to have a quiet word with his parents? In this country, people who respond with disproportionate anger and violence to childish insults can expect to be punished with imprisonment or sectioned for their own mental health.

      There has been far too much said to justify or excuse the angry response of Muslims to this film, but there is no excuse for the ridiculous and murderous hysteria which has been whipped up; lending ‘understanding’ to a violent mob just serves to validate it.

  4. Jim says:

    See the three recent stories below where British judges see hate speech as crime, but for some blasphemy remains free speech.

    Matthew Woods, 19, from Chorley, Lancashire, who posted explicit comments and jokes about April Jones on his Facebook page has been jailed for 12 weeks.
    He made comments about April and Madeleine McCann, the three-year-old who went missing during a family holiday in Portugal in 2007.
    Woods was arrested for his own safety after about 50 people descended on his home. He pleaded guilty at Chorley magistrates court to sending by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive. The chairman of the bench, Bill Hudson, said Woods’s comments were so “abhorrent” he deserved the longest sentence the court could hand down.
    Hudson added: “The reason for the sentence is the seriousness of the offence, the public outrage that has been caused and we felt there was no other sentence this court could have passed which conveys to you the abhorrence that many in society feel this crime should receive.” The court was told Woods’s Facebook page was available to a large number of people. The same story also reminded Liam Stacey, 21, received a 56-day jail term after tweeting “LOL” [“laugh out loud”] in response to the on-pitch collapse of the footballer Fabrice Muamba and subsequently posting racist and offensive comments when other users criticized him.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/oct/08/april-jones-matthew-woods-jailed

    Barry Thew given eight months for public order and other offences after wearing garment that mocked slain officers
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/oct/11/manchester-man-jailed-tshirt-police?intcmp=239

    I hope that legal experts will be able to see that it is not right to let people of the hook who hurt the sentiments of millions of Muslim across the world.

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