Archive for September, 2012

Muslims across Sydney protested about the recent “Innocence of Muslims” movie which has caused worldwide uproar and led to at least 5 people (not related to the movie) dead. I was so sure today would be a peaceful protest, done in class and dignity, proving to ourselves and the world that we can unite in protest about the defamation of our religion and hopefully get the attention of the public to understand our angle, but instead today the protests started peacefully for 30 minutes then for hours it was a hot mess. Property was damaged. Projectiles thrown. Police attacked. Public Inconvenienced. Hate Signs were carried. Did this protest help or damage our cause? I as a Muslim condemn today’s protests in Sydney as a failure on part of our Islamic Community.

It has been quiet a while since we have seen the all too familiar repercussions of apparent insults to the Islamic faith and the man that 1.6 billion people worldwide reverend. Violent protests have swept through Libya and Egypt and unfortunately-  The US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, has died from smoke inhalation in an attack on the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. Three others were also killed (By smoke) in the mob attack. Apparently initially the protest was simply made by civilians and only became heated and hostile once militants joined the protest. Why did these protests occur?

A film released by a supposed Israeli American by the name of Sam Bacile who created a film that swept in popularity across Youtube and elsewhere titled “Innocence of Muslims” where the Prophet of Islam is called a bastard, he engages in odd sexual acts, named a pedophile, displayed as a bloodthirsty warlord, an evil masochist surrounded by flames and a homosexual. We have seen such protests when US pastor Terry Jones encouraged the burning of the Quran and attempted to stamp a day as officially “Burn the Quran Day“. More protests occurred when photos were displayed in Europe of the Prophet Mohammad being depicted with a bomb under his turban, which then offset an international “Draw Muhammad Day” which also depicted the Prophet as a Pedophile, Satanist, Pig, Warlord and downright maniac.

Muslims react to Anti Islamic film by Sam Bacile

In such events we see a domino effect- where we see Muslims react violently, other Muslims that say the Muslim reaction was unjustified, then a whirlwind of opinion coming from all angles- some further justifying their cause by saying these violent reactions prove directly that Islam and Muslims are backwards- whilst others claim that such expressions of “freedom of speech” only further fuel the fire of distance between Islam and the West. Point being there is a middle line between all of this insanity. First off, if history is ever a lesson then indeed Sam Bacile would have known without a shadow of a doubt that his movie and rendition of the Prophet Muhammad and Islam would come under attack, and while only a few out of 50 + Muslim countries engaged in protests we know that some have the tendency to become violent and out of control. Clearly Mr. Bacile does not care about the exposure of others in these areas where hardline Muslims have been known to attack when such manifestations of their religion are made public, and ironically enough this man is now in hiding whilst a few innocent lives were sacrificed for his desperate need of “freedom of speech”.

Some may think that this movie “The Innocence Of Muslims” is a film that openly critiques Islam, that perhaps this film has a deep message from a quizzical gentleman who has a few critical questions in regards to Islam, yet when we come to know the creator of such a film we come to know that this man clearly is taking advantage of his freedom of speech and instead would rather spit and speak when it comes to his message on Islam.

According to one of Bacile’s consultants on the film, Steve Klein, the two knew full well that their incendiary movie would provoke violent reprisals…Bacile told The Wall Street Journal’s Matt Bradley that “Islam is a cancer”. This man makes little scholarly work in his film and clearly created it to cause controversy and he feared little the response that would come out of it, for months the film was ignored until it was dubbed in Arabic and made its way to the Egyptian and Libyan public.  Oddly enough the deception by the film makers has now taken its toll on the actors.

Screen Grab from “Innocence of Muslims”. The offensive film that caused huge controversy after it was revealed the cast were lied to.

Actors of the film like Cindy Lee Garcia who plays a small part in the film said that cast were never told this film had anything to do with Islam or with Muhammad, Garcia states The script she was given was titled simply “Desert Warriors.”

It was going to be a film based on how things were 2,000 years ago,” Garcia said. “It wasn’t based on anything to do with religion, it was just on how things were run in Egypt. There wasn’t anything about Muhammad or Muslims or anything.” It is  clearly evident that all things to do with Muhammad and Islam were dubbed over in post production as it can be seen with the not so synched lips of the actors.

The entire 80-member cast and crew of the film have released a statement saying they were misled. Via CNN .

“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.”

Perhaps at this point people will say that no amount of speech should cause people to react violently and i agree. I think the actions by these Muslims who rioted violently and attacked people who had NOTHING to do with this movie is extremely wrong, such actions mark a stain on our religion and its adherents. Certainly Islam is a religion that stemmed from ridicule and constant torment which for the most part was dealt with in an honorable way. Do i think we should be able to say what we want? Sure that is fine. Yet we know that with every action, comes a reaction- even words. If history is a lesson for us, surely we should know such ridicule is not worth it.

People who have academic issues of Islam can certainly embark in that endeavor of theirs with no issues. Every day Muslims and Non Muslims are having scholarly debates. Constantly Muslims are under the spotlight answering frequently asked questions and queries about their religion and indeed every day Islam is ridiculed in some way or another and a huge majority of this ridicule is ignored and this response is the most Islamic. The Holy Book of Islam makes it clear how to deal with those who ridicule our religion.|

And it has already come down to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allah, they are denied by them and ridiculed; so do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation.” (Quran 4:140)

Mocked were messengers before you (Muhammad): but I granted respite to those unbelievers, and finally I punished them: Then how was my requital?” (Quran 13:32)

O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule another people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule other women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames.” (Quran 49:11)

So what could Muslims and non Muslims alike learn from the above? First of all that there is no Quranic call for Muslims to attack and kill those who ridicule and mock our religion. Infact the Quran claims that if we are in the company of people who mock and ridicule our religion, whilst they are within our own reach, to simply walk away until they change the subject. We also learn that Messengers were ridiculed constantly, not only Muhammad but messengers prior to that and we learn that it is not in our interest to punish them, but Allah instead. Finally we see that it is best for us not to ridicule other humans because they may be better than us, we are encouraged not to insult other beings nor use offensive nicknames, we find that such an attitude in life is more important to world stability and peace as opposed to the abused notion of “Freedom of speech” which many use to incite hatred and animosity between people.

Muslims in Libya protest the violent response by other Muslims.

At the end of the day i am glad to see Muslims already stand up and oppose the actions of their fellow Muslims. We don’t need to fear the opinion of a critic, nor fear the ignorance of people who create a pot of intimidation, religious provocation and a bait hoping to reel in the extreme of our faith to somehow claim that this “catch” is a typical Muslims response to opposition, even if it is a Muslim response, it most surely is not an Islamic response.

Even in saying that Muslims may claim that seeming this film was created and funded by supposed Jews that this gives us further reason to dislike them, yet the information at this point is still sketchy and could indeed be a diversion to cause further barriers and divisions between Muslim-Jewish relations.

Bacile told the AP he was an Israeli-born, 56-year-old, Jewish writer and director. But a Christian activist involved in the film project, Steve Klein, said Wednesday that Bacile was a pseudonym, he was not Jewish or Israeli and a group of Americans of Mideast origin collaborated on the film. Officials in Israel also said there was no record of Bacile as an Israeli citizen.

Whatever the case i think Freedom of Speech is an often abused term and an excuse that gives the green light to hatred and disassociation. Such actions do nothing for the world. It doesn’t change anything and it simply causes rifts between the people. It lets us see extremists we already know who exist, it exposes us to moderates that we already know exist and it highlights to us bigots who use this fundamental right to further distill relations between people and by God do we know that these people exist.

I watched this film and found it to be horrible, not only its concept but its production. If there is any reason i would riot against this film it is not because of how offensive it is but because of how downright TERRIBLE it is.

Muslim women hold signs showing solidarity with the dead after the protests.

Peace, Salam Alaykum.