Many countries in the Muslim world have been rocked by violence. These countries include Egypt, Yemen, and Libya. The violence has been centered on a movie called the “Innocence of Muslims.” This film mocked the Muslim religion including the prophet Muhammad. The film’s deliberately provocative content was aimed to insult Muslims across the world. The amount of violence in response to the film was shocking. On the faithful day of Sept. 11, 2012 U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in a terrorist attack. The breakout of violence goes beyond one movie. To use a cliche, it was the spark that lit the powder keg.
The movie set out to insult every devout Muslim. The actors in the movie were lied to about the nature of the movie.They thought they were going to be in a adventure flick instead of a satire on religion. Their voices were dubbed without their consent to put the insulting material in. The movie is stupid and insulting. Yet a stupid and insulting movie does not warrant murder. Religious devotion should never make murder acceptable. The White House has recently pressured Google to take down the video. There should not be attempts to take the video down. Free speech is a great thing. You should be able to express yourself even if your opinion is terribly ignorant. As Voltaire stated. “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” Taking the video down will just show that if violence is implemented radical Islam will get its way. Murder over a movie should not be acceptable anywhere on Earth. You cannot reward the people perpetuating the violence. This would just show that violence is an effective means to an end. Another problem over concentrating on the movie is that it overlooks the core cause of the violence.
We have had a long military and corporate presence in the Middle East, North Africa, and other Muslim countries. The United States has invaded two Muslim countries and is still currently in another. The United States is implementing drone strikes in Pakistan. There has been an incredible civilian body count in these conflicts. Over 100,000 have been killed in Iraq and around 13,000 in Afghanistan. The drone strike casualties in Pakistan are unknown. This has, of course, made many Muslims angry at the United States’ presence around the world. Hate for the United States is across the Muslim world. In fact the attacks on Ambassador Stevens and the three other Americans may have been planned before the movie was distributed. The United States should not apologize for a movie; it should apologize for a reckless foreign policy.
Salman Rushdie has most rationally explained this situation. I find myself agreeing with his views. Rushdie was an author who wrote The Satanic Verses. This book was considered blasphemous by the government of Iran. There is still a bounty of $3.3 million dollars for the man who kills Rushdie. He is no stranger to Islamic fundamentalism. However, Rushdie does not sympathize with the filmmaker. He purposely wanted to insult the Muslim world. He also lambasted the rioters because they prove the filmmaker right. The filmmaker wanted to show Muslims as violent fanatics and now they are showing themselves as violent fanatics.
If the United States would truly like to stop anti-American activity it should reel back its military presence in the region. It is counterproductive. We are not winning hearts and minds. We are turning a new generation of Muslims against this country. Blaming a movie is missing the point of anti-Americanism in the Middle East entirely.
Jack Barnett is a fourth-year student majoring in history and political science. He can be reached at JB723722@wcupa.edu.