A recent video published on Youtube under the title “Innocence of Muslims” has upset the Muslim populations of Middle Eastern countries around the world. United States embassies and consulates have closed their doors amid the protests held outside and hundreds of people have been arrested following the conflict.
Allegedly produced and distributed by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, “Innocence of Muslims,” is a fifteen-minute trailer featuring clips of the longer production that ridicules the prophet Mohammed and depicts him as a womanizer, a child molester, bloodthirsty, and without the qualities of any reasonable man.
It is a poorly produced, poorly acted, over-dubbed production that serves no artistic or practical purpose whatsoever, except to offend those who believe in the Islamic faith.
To the western observer, the film and the protests that have occurred all over the world seem excessive and outrageous themselves. Why can’t people take a joke or turn the other cheek? Why have thousands of people stood up in offense against a silly, inappropriate fifteen- minute montage?
We can say anything (except the desire to assassinate the president) without repercussion and Americans have been preaching our First Amendment rights for over 200 years.
Shouldn’t all nations have the rights we have? Doesn’t everyone deserve the basic freedoms that make America great? Isn’t that what our country has tried to achieve after Middle Eastern conflicts? The establishment of democratic states? Contradiction and belief is as easy as simply saying it in our worlds.
For others, it’s not easy, legal, or expected. It is difficult for people who have not grown up with the rights we possess to think the ways in which we do. They have never seen things that way.
How can the Middle East apply abstract thinking on a social level when their very culture, society, and politics have been based off the fundamental teachings of the Quran and the words of the prophet Mohammed who taught the laws, institutions, and very beliefs that were ridiculed?
It’s difficult to quantify. It’s like explaining to an eastern observer why the value of independence and singular human life is so important in western society, while eastern social paradigms hold little stock in those values.
Unless we practice and hold reverence to the Islamic faith, or unless someone says something and hits the right nerve, we will not understand the offense that Muslims all over the world have experienced seeing their religious symbol insulted.
We must accept that there are things we will not comprehend in this world and remain open and withholding judgment upon what we do not understand. Our ideologies grant us the ability to freely believe, speak, and act. We must not give in to ignorance and act as if situations such as this are easily rectified. If we are not compassionate and believe our own beliefs to be the only truths, other cultures, religions, and creeds will be worlds away from our understanding. And we will remain a world divided.