An Anti-Islam C-Grade Movie, An Ambassador Dead – Our Response?
Before I knocked off work yesterday evening, I read about the protests against an anti-Islam movie happening in Cairo & Libya. Thinking it was some wacko, attention-seeking Terry Jones-inspired jamboree, I didn’t put much thought into it. Don’t these things happen all the time?
It was only later when I was informed via Twitter that the U.S. Ambassador in Libya and a State Department officer in Cairo had been killed that I realized the insignificant had turned significant. What was the movie? Who made it and financed it? Why was the Ambassador and Officer killed? Although I found answers for the first two, I couldn’t find a justified reason for the deaths of the 2 men.
Titled “The Innocence of Muslims”, it is an amatuer, lower than C-grade film with bad acting, unrealistic-looking beards that featured Prophet Muhammad (S) and his Companions as bloodthirsty pederasts. “According to the film, Muhammad was an illegitimate child, and the Quran was written by his wife’s cousin, and current-day Muslims go around slaughtering Christians.” (Source: Eldahshan)
In a weird twist, the actors who appeared in it had no idea they were starring in anti-Islam propaganda which depicts Muhammed as a child molester and thug. They were deceived by the film’s director, believing they were appearing in a film about the life of a generic Egyptian 2,000 years ago. (Source: Gawker.com)
The entire 80-member cast and crew of the film have released a statement saying they were misled. Via CNN:
[box_light]The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer. We are 100% not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose. We are shocked by the drastic re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred.[/box_light]
The movie was uploaded to Youtube by Sam Bacile. The Wall Street Journal Web site has identified him as a 52-year old Israeli-American real estate developer in California. The film apparently cost $5 million and was financed by more than 100 Jewish donors.
Bacile was quoted as saying, “Islam is a cancer. The movie is a political movie. It’s not a religious movie.” In an interview, he acknowledged that he intended to showcase his view of Islam as a hateful religion.
Ironically, Terry Jones (the same Florida preacher of Qur’an-burning fame) was somehow involved. He apparently promoted the film along with his own proclamation of Sept. 11 as “International Judge Muhammad Day”. Still, this would not have made much news since Terry Jones is known for his publicity stunts.
Additionally, the film has been around since God-knows-when and would have remained in the corners of Youtube that no one would have ventured into except by accidental search, BUT it was picked up by an incendiary TV preacher who showed it on national television in Cairo, causing the matter to escalate, climaxing in the violence and the deaths.
The U.S. Ambassador was Chris Stevens, a man who started off with Peace Corps, volunteering to teach English to Moroccans. He later befriended the Libya’s revolutionaries because he believed and wanted to see the growth and success of Libya. It is a huge loss for Libya to have lost this man.
I have read many responses to this tragedy by Muslims and here are a selection:[box_light]Is the film insulting? Yeah, sure. But the best reaction would have been to ignore it completely. There is no virtue in displaying lethal outrage (as in Benghazi) whenever anyone throws a feeble punch at Islam and Muslims. Doing so is only a display of weakness, a fear that our religion cannot withstand even the silliest of skits. This idea is insulting in itself. Bring on the insults, I say — bring on the hatred, the mockery, the piques, the spitballs. The amateur films, the Danish cartoons, the Geert Wilders, and the like. There is little harm than can befall Islam as a faith. It has withstood, over the past fourteen centuries, infinitely worse attacks, yet it has neither weakened nor vanished.
– Eldahshan.com[/box_light] [box_dark]”Which party is most [ir]responsible: the one whose insult was barely noticed, or the one who sensationally conveyed it to the masses?”
– Shaykh Musa Furber via Twitter[/box_dark] [box_light]By choosing violence as a response, the embassy attackers ironically & tragically betray the legacy, spirit & wisdom of the Prophet Muhammad – he who was repeatedly insulted, mocked, and pelted with trash and stones but chose to reply with patient etiquette and generosity. Extremism begets extremism. This tragedy in Libya calls for moderation & reconciliation. Voices of calm, understanding & peace must now rise and be heard. #benghazi
– Wajahat Ali via Facebook[/box_light] [box_dark]For the first 13 years of his mission, the Prophet Muhammad and his followers were exposed to demeaning abuse, mockery and torture on a daily basis in Mecca. Not only did he resist violence, he did not even return an insult with another insult. At one point in Mecca, his enemies twisted his name to call him ‘Mudhammam’ (The Loathsome) instead of ‘Muhammad’ which deeply offended his followers. But the Prophet calmly comforted them by stating, “Doesn’t it astonish you how God protects me from the Quraish’s abusing and cursing? They abuse Mudhammam and curse Mudhammam while I am Muhammad.” [Source: Bukhari]
– The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)[/box_light]
Although many media won’t pick up on this, here’s an image showing Libyans who are protesting against the deaths.
For more beautiful images, please see here: http://imgur.com/a/tlCyI
This episode has taught us that all of us must speak out against extremism of any kind, build bridges, break down stereotypes, start discussions and never stop our efforts in combating extremism in thought and deed.
May goodness always prevail.
*UPDATE: Here’s the response from Lupe Fiasco. Hats off to him! Read here: http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/muhammadshowedme-0022340[divider]
Ameera is the Editor of Muzlimbuzz.sg, a chronic reader and a news junkie.