Protesters in Yemen – Huffington Post
Tragically on the Tuesday September 11th, the 11th anniversary of 9/11, an attack on the US Embassy in Libya, killed well-respected U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three members of his staff. Apparently the attack was motivated by anger over a 14-minute, American-made video that depicted the Prophet Muhammad, Islam’s founder, as a buffoon, questioned his sexual orientation as well as made references to his participation in acts child-molestation. In just a few hours, the attack in Libya was followed by an Egyptian militia storming the compound outside the United States Embassy in Cairo. On Wednesday, new crowds of protesters gathered outside the United States Embassy in Tunis. On Thursday the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, was surrounded by a mob apparently angry over the same inflammatory film. As of this writing, Thursday September 13, protests have also been sparked in Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq. Sadly, one can only guess how many U.S. Embassies will be embroiled in the latest violent controversy revolving around the fragile relationship between the U.S. and the Arab World.
But the question must be asked, could a 14-minute film spark such outrage? The film, titled Innocence of Muslims, was produced and directed by an Israeli-American, Sam Bacile, a California real-estate developer who called Islam “a cancer,” in an interview. Mr. Bacile told The Journal that he raised $5 million from about 100 Jewish donors and shot the two-hour movie in California last year. Since the attacks on U.S. Embassies Mr. Bacile has gone into seclusion.
In the U.S., a country that believes and values free speech, we find it reprehensible that people could be killed in response to a form of “artistic expression.” Surprisingly, some in the Arab world find it equally reprehensible that Mr. Bacile wasn’t killed for his form of “artistic expression”. Innocence of Muslims was neither sanctioned by the U.S. government nor seen by most of Americans, yet innocent Americans are dying because of the film’s message. U.S. attitudes towards the Arab World in particular as well as American cultural attitudes towards “expression” highlight the friction between the two cultures. In response to the attacks Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mounted a strong defense of free speech by saying. “‘We do not stop individuals from expressing their views, no matter how distasteful they may be.” However, Clinton warned that there “should be no debate about the simple proposition that violence in response to speech is not acceptable. We must draw the line at violence,” she said.
What are your opinions about the film, the Arab response, American involvement in the Arab world as well as the Political football that has been passed by Mitt Romney as he has claimed the Obama administration responded “weakly” to the attacks?
-Network for Peace through Dialogue Staff Member: