So by now you’ve heard about the various riots, protests and other crap going on in the Muslim world due to the existence of a film that, frankly, sounds like a piece of crap. I haven’t bothered to try and watch it because it sounds deeply unpleasant. I have a few thoughts on the violence, protests, etc, however, and I’m going to go over those.
First, it’s perfectly acceptable to be angry about this film. It’s acceptable to be furious, in fact. Taking to the streets in protest is acceptable, and I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone they can’t. However responding with any kind of violence is not acceptable. If I come up to someone on the street and call them a dick, they have the right to ignore me, to walk away, to insult me back or do any number of things. They don’t have the right to punch me, no matter how offended they feel. It’s the same here. Protest all you want, but don’t get violent about it.
I also have to take note of the fact that I suspect the majority of Muslims, while not being happy about the video, understand and recognize that it’s just a stupid movie and if you ignore it, it will, in fact, go away. I think it’s quite likely, too, as others have speculated, that these protests are being made violent by a small core of assholes who are engaging in violent behavior as part of a different agenda. This is rather like the racists who show up at Tea Party events, or the anarchists who show up at Occupy protests.
Speaking of agendas, I’m 99% sure that the people who made this movie and the people who translated it into Arabic did so hoping to get exactly this sort of reaction. They claim Islam is an evil and violent religion, and when things like this happen, it “proves” their point. I guess at least part of my message here is to stop playing into their hands. Disrupt their beliefs in you by, say, protesting silently in a mass of quiet people, or gather around and sing a series of cheerful sounding songs. Protests don’t have to be angry. You’re also certainly welcome to retaliate by making a movie showing Jesus Christ being ass-raped by Satan, if that will help you any.
Lastly, I have to point out that it’s the 21st century (at least for us), and this is a massive, multicultural world. All religions and atheism are open game to be mocked, spat upon and made fun of. It’s just part of the world, and it’s something that Muslims, as well as everyone else, just has to accept. While it is, as I said, acceptable to be angry about it, you probably shouldn’t be. It might really piss you off to see a picture of Mohammad fornicating with a dog, but, frankly, you need to get over it. You aren’t special. Your religion doesn’t deserve any more, or any less, protection than any other.
Before I go, I’d also like to recommend finding and watching Islam: The Untold Story, which was going to air on Channel 4 in the UK recently, but they backed off on it. It’s a fascinating look at some lesser-known elements of the Koran. For example, the fact that Mecca is apparently not mentioned by name, and that the first Arabs to come out of the desert and start conquering might not have been Muslims; that Islam itself might have been started in southern Syria, rather than in Arabia. It’s really interesting and worth seeing if you are able to find it.