The West has been so prolific in it’s condemning coverage of the worldwide Islamic protests in the wake of Innocence Of Muslims, that it’s only fair we give a normal Muslim the chance to explain their (personal, not representative of all Muslims remember) side of the issue here.
So, this morning I read this piece on Slate.com, which advises Muslims to just ‘get over it’, when we see movies denigrating our religion or our Prophet (pbuh) on the Internet. It’s a sensible piece, urging us Muslims not to resort to violence because of a stupid, amateur movie made by a bunch of charlatans.
“God is too great to be troubled by the insults of fools. Follow Him.”
Well, thanks very much for that advice. I’ll have to put down my Molotov cocktail now and put my feet up. I’ve been told I can just ignore insults to the thing I hold the most dear in the world.
While I appreciate the sentiment and the message contained in this article, I can’t help but feel just a little bit patronised by it. First off, anyone who’s reading Slate on the internet is probably not likely to go climb the walls of the US Embassy or loot an American school. Chances are the people that are most likely to do that haven’t even seen the offending video - they’ve just been told about it or have read that it exists. YouTube has been blocked in the places where they live, although YouTube refuses to take down the clip itself.
So an internet article advising us Muslims to just calm down and not, you know, blow stuff up is; how should I say this, perhaps somewhat misdirected. And also stating the obvious. We’re not all that dumb, you know. But thanks for assuming that we needed your words of wisdom to show us the error of our ways.
Later in the piece, Shah goes on to say:
When a ridiculous, amateur movie pops up on the internet, defaming my beloved Prophet (pbuh) please excuse me if I don’t just “get over it”. I’m sorry I’m not evolved enough to not feel anger, humiliation, or shame at the idea that my beloved Prophet (pbuh), who taught us the difference between right and wrong, who gave up his life for his people, who suffered endless taunts, threats to his life, temptation, open hostility and hidden plots because of his role as messenger and leader, should be mocked and demonised today by a group of people whose clear intention is to hurt, harass, incite, and eliminate Muslims.
I can’t believe the duplicity of those who would tell me that a film against the Prophet (pbuh) is not hate speech, but “freedom of expression”.
How stupid do you think I am? Do you think I don’t know world history or modern law?
I’m a Muslim. I’m proud to be a Muslim. I’m proud of my Prophet (pbuh) and I will respect his tradition, honour his person, and fight for what he stood for. So my weapons are words, not guns or bombs. That’s my choice. That’s what Mohammad (pbuh) taught me - to use the phrase that Lupe Fiasco’s been hash-tagging on Twitter ever since this all started.
Don’t you dare tell me I should just “get over it” or not get angry or just stay cool.
You get over yourself.
Don’t impose your values on me.
Some things are still sacred; this is one of them.
You can read the full piece here, which I strongly recommend because it’s very good. I agree with her that the stereotyping and the patronising preaching from non-Muslims in mainstream media, telling Muslims how they should behave and cop one on the chin, is a bit ridiculous and uncalled for in a mainstream publication, that only the majority of peaceful Muslims, fed up with this chastising on behalf of a few, will ever read.
Also, while you’re there, you can vote in Shah’s poll on whether you think freedom of expression also applies to hate speech. An interesting question, albeit a little loaded for those who don’t class the movie as hate speech.
Unless you’re actively calling Jews an inferior race who should be put to death, or, I don’t know, holding up signs calling for the beheading of anyone who insults the prophet, then hate speech is a pretty grey area. I mean, if Innocence Of Muslims is classed as hate speech, so too should the 1999 Kevin Smith film, Dogma, in which Alanis Morissette plays God, Mary’s virginity is mocked and Jesus is rebranded and sold in shops as “Buddy Christ“, a bobble head doll designed to be “less of a downer” than the sad-faced, crucified, stigmata-ridden, traditional version of Christ.
We all took that in fairly good humour at the time… and sure, there were protests: Christians paraded the streets of several cities, even Kevin Smith himself decided to join the protest against his own film (as a publicity stunt of course).
Does that make us Christians, well, weak? Certain Muslims like Bina Shah, surely must think we’re a little pathetic for not vocally defending our religious integrity to Muslim standards?
Well are we? Is she spot on?
At the time of writing, 53% of voters say “No”, freedom of expression should not apply to hate speech.
- Innocence of Muslim Films – Press Release (um-bs.com)
- My response to the Anti-Muslim film; Innocence of Muslims (thehijaab.com)
- Hurting Muslims Feelings Cannot Be Tolerated, Egypts Ruling Party Says (cnsnews.com)
- Unislamic and Irrational Responses To An Obscure Film (seyedibrahim.wordpress.com)
- Hezbollah: U.S. should be held accountable for anti-Islam film (dailystar.com.lb)
- Our Prophet (pbuh)is the most beloved to us (roshnii179.com)
- YouTube Rejects White House Request to Take Down Anti-Muslim Video (complex.com)
- Syrians wonder why Muslims aren’t rioting over them (liberalconspiracy.org)
- Calgary Muslims gather to protest anti-Muslim film (cbc.ca)
- A lesson for all – Muslims and Non-Muslims BOTH. (fahimish.com)