Islam’s sanguinary scenes

This article originally appeared on the Commentator, September 19 2012

Every time the followers of Islam are offended, sanguinary scenes soon follow. From Salman Rushdie to the Danish cartoons, and now last week’s murder of the American ambassador Christopher Stevens, and three other American officials, as protests engulfed at least 12 countries over the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’.

This is the latest saga in Islam’s attack on our cultural freedom, and reminds us that the Islamic world is wholly incapable of rising above the bait.

There has been relative silence on Muslims slaughtering thousands of fellow Muslims on the streets of Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Instead, anger has been reserved for a trailer uploaded to YouTube, which is as nearly offensive to the art of film-making as it is to Islam.

In fourteen minutes of wooden acting and cringe-worthy dialogue, the Prophet Muhammad is depicted as an advocate of child molestation; a fraud; an incompetent philanderer; an idiot; and Muslims as a cadre of violent fanatics. It is undeniably crude and offensive.

It was written and produced by a shady Californian Coptic Christian, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who pretended he was an Israeli American real estate developer called Sam Bacile. In an interview with the Associated Press which was printed in the Israeli paper Haaretz, he claimed the gravamen of making the film was to expose the flaws of Islam, claiming the religion is a ‘cancer’.

In essence, the film has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as Nakoula’s generalising and lazy accusation that Muslims are brutal, blood-thirsty fanatics has hardly been disproved.

Whilst the leaders of these lynch mobs and gangs must not be treated as the voices of Muslims worldwide, Muslims themselves must speak out against such behavior. It is particularly worrying that over a thousand British Muslims protested outside the American embassy in London on the weekend, when they should have been remonstrating outside the embassies of Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia among others, for daring to violate the very principles that 30 million Muslims in the West privilege from.

In addition, before the insane riots swept across the globe, a programme on the origins of Islam had to be cancelledafter a vast number of complaints and threats were made to the programme’s presenter Tom Holland.

If assimilated Jews of the West were to riot and murder every time a video was uploaded to YouTube depicting vile anti-Semitism – that Goebbels would have been proud of – violence would be a continuous occurrence. However, by mostly ignoring it and not rising to the bait, there is no issue, and hence there are no sanguinary scenes.

Just last week this cartoon was published which resulted in zero deaths, zero threats, and no moral posturing. Muslims do not have a special right to be offended, any more so than Christians, Jews and atheists, whether they believe their faith is divine or not.

In the West we went through the Enlightenment so that no single fanatical gang could enforce their will as “The Truth”. Thus it is contemptible to allow our freedom of expression to be violated now.

People who claim to be offended have a right to be so. But it is an unpardonable commission into our affairs that citizens are slaughtered as a result, and that embassies have their immunity violated, which is essentially an act of war.

Rationalising the irrational is an inexcusable act, and must not occur here. The fact that one man in America – a nation of more than 311 million people – produced a low budget film that was aired once in a small theatre, has resulted in multiple deaths and caused riots globally, is appalling.

Do we wish to live in a climate where any cultural activity must take into account the possibility of Islamic retaliation?

Make no two ways about it – unless we uphold our liberties in the face of backwater clerics and their man-made claims of sacredness, we’ve lost, because without freedom of expression, everything else in the West will vanish.

Until Muslims learn to not be so readily offended, and argue with facts rather than violence and intimidation, these sanguinary scenes will continue for the foreseeable future.

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