By Sam S. Nath
A SHORT TRAILER for a supremely unprofessional film called “Innocence of Muslims” appeared recently on YouTube. Simply because this blatantly amateurish and perverse film was produced on U.S. Soil – not by an American but rather an Egyptian-born man – Western interests have become daily targets of protest across the Islamic world.
Sadly, a significant number of these protests have turned violent, resulting in loss of life as well as property. While the world looks on in dismay, there is real fear that these protests will keep widening and will continue.
Through its parody of the Prophet Mohammed, this two-bit video exhibits glaringly poor taste. Understandably this insults not only the Islamic world but the world of religion in general. Yet the fact remains that any excuses for the resultant loss of life and property seem strained, at best.
Violence only succeeds in forwarding the intentions of Egyptian-born Nakoula Bassely Nakoula (aka “Sam Bacile,” who has a record of criminal arrests, conviction, and bankruptcy). This same man as well as his small and contemptible network of misguided and equally questionable individuals seem bent on creating turmoil and chaos – and the resultant harm we have seen from Libya to Bangladesh.
Why grant a worthless video, with a wholly less-than-worthless message, any power?
By acknowledging its existence, protestors act against their own self interests. This video is NOT the opinion of the majority of Americans, but rather the ill-intended and very few. And it is not supported by any institution or government. And it only started gaining notice when it was translated into Egyptian Arabic.
The United States and its founding Constitution stands for religious freedom and the freedom of the individual. While some cultures may find it more difficult to understand, in America, people have personal freedoms granted to them that prevent government intervention. Sadly, a small few take this to extremes and thus penalize the many well-intended who simply wish to live in peace and harmony–with respect given to themselves and others.
Here government honors the constitutional rights of the people and their freedom of speech.
While the author does not particularly endorse such, people at times engage in name calling of such prominent figures as their president, the Pope, church or even Jesus Christ. Under the right of freedom of speech, one cannot be arrested for doing so. Respect for life and freedom trumpets any insults to religion, the pope or even Jesus Christ himself.
An obscure film, wholly ignored in America, has found interest (thanks to the media in Egypt and the resultant protests, riots and violence). To what end? To cause widespread distress and thereby negatively impact mankind on a global scale?
If the reasons given for protesting against this video are intended to stop this video, then here are the top 10 reasons to stop the protesting:
1. Don’t give power to an ignorant message and insignificant video.
When one protests against a video this crude and baseless, one gives it power by making it seem significant. The truth lies in its blatant unimportance. It’s content is clearly unsubstantiated and should have just been ignored. The video would have no power and zero impact if the media had not advertised its existence, fueling an already smoldering flame. The protests in the Muslim world would have never started.
Let’s look through the apparent causes and see the actual causes.
2. The victims of the violence are not the correct target.
Protests and violence against an American Embassy and Western interests are meaningless–
Trust in this: the vast and overriding majority in the West do NOT support this video. The American public, in general, didn’t even know about it–until the protest started.
3. Don’t prove the enemy’s point.
If the message is “Islam is intolerant,”
4. The protest against the American Embassy and Western interests are meaningless.
They are neither the source of nor the disseminators of the video. Instead, it is altogether possible, the West could help in the cause for respect of Mohammed, by working with the West as an ally, not as enemy, to end the propagation of a message found to be hideous.
Fact: It is the questionable few that support this video. And it is the majority that view it with disdain.
5. One wrong act does not justify another wrong act.
Though it may not be a palatable fact, there are people who will not always agree with one and there will always be at least a few who oppose – such as those who have done wrong by producing a sham of such proportion. Violence through protest, however, cannot justify the loss of life and property.
6. Don’t fuel the fire.
A month back, almost no one knew about this video. After attack on the American Embassy in Libya, along with the incumbent turmoil that has spread from Egypt and beyond, signals the only reason this false message has received millions of hits on YouTube.
While I am not advocating a “do nothing” approach, why provide the free publicity to a communication that should have been left in the dust bin in the first place?
7. It is meaningless and insignificant.
God does not care if anyone insults him. He is above all criticism. If someone tries to spit on the Sun, it comes back to that person. We do not need to defend the Sun! Mohammed said not to create his image, so he cannot be depicted by an image. There is no use in giving power to a baseless video that had been, and correctly so, going unnoticed. It is this author’s opinion that Mohammed is too great to be bothered by such invalid tripe. It’s like a mouse screaming at an elephant, the elephant doesn’t even notice.
8. Religion does not need protection.
Religion in its true forms is a set of values. And like gravity, these values exist regardless of the opinion of others. The actual truth exists regardless of any denials or insults. Protest reflects inner insecurities and frustration. Religion does not need to be protected by anyone. Actually, God does not need protection–only humans do.
9. Let God administer justice.
God is omnipotent and can mete out justice as needed. Those that are really doing wrong can run but they cannot hide for very long. After all, it is up to God to decide if they will go to hell or have eternal life.
10. Protests, violence and harm to others is contrary to the greatest good for Muslims.
While I condemn the film and understand the impact and distress it has caused many Muslims, I do not see any plausible justification to protest, riots, violence, loss of life and property over a baseless video posted on YouTube.
Let’s place it where it really belongs…in the garbage bin.
Instead, let’s have this protest come to an end and in its place start building a community of love and peace.
Sam S. Nath is the author of The Second Coming of DaVinci – Real Lost Symbols of Bible, a book that illustrates how all faiths can unite in love.