Four American diplomats in Libya are killed; including the Ambassador, Chris Stevens. Fourteen Libyans are dead. American fast food chains are set on fire. US, British and German consulates are attacked in Sudan. Fierce protesting continues in Libya and Egypt. Protesters in Chennai are pelting the US consulate. Yemen, along with numerous other Muslim countries, is engulfed in similar outrage.
All this is over an amateur movie no one has ever seen, and probably doesn’t exist. Whose creator is an unknown fraud. The only evidence of this movie is a YouTube trailer – whose existence most protesters are probably unaware of and have never watched. The actors of the movie have come out and have declared themselves innocent; they were duped by the creator. Their scenes were manipulated and voices dubbed over during post-production.
While details of this bizarre story continue to unfold, some things are starting to become clear. One is that the attack on the US Consulate in Libya was led by heavily armed militants, not protesters; all this happening on the 9/11 anniversary isn’t mere coincidence it seems. The militants used the protesters as cover for their attacks. As for the attack on the Germany embassy in Sudan, its speculated that it was tied to the recent controversy about banning circumcision. In addition, the rumours about the film being ‘funded by Jews’ and being made by an Israeli-American have proven to be false. The creator of the film is an Egyptian-born Coptic Christian.
It is believed that it was the airing of the movie’s clip on the Egyptian channel, Al-Nas, that sparked this episode. U.S. officials believe that the Saturday broadcast of a talk show hosted by Sheikh Khalid Abdallah was the flashpoint for the unrest. Al-Nas is known to promote religious and sectarian hatred due to which its license has been periodically suspended.
While there is more than one force at play here; the similarity between these violent protests and those about the Danish cartoons are strikingly similar. It is clear that a group of opportunists have yet again managed to mobilize masses to meet their political ends. As Robert Fisk points out, religion and politics don’t just mix in the Middle East – they are the same. Clerics have promoted the movie as if it was being televised across America and had full backing of West. Zealots have perfected ways of using people’s attachment to their faith as a means of lashing out at the Western countries.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to exonerate the protesters of their odious crime. They’ve proven yet again that the Muslim world has no shortage of lunatics who are willing to lash out at the drop of a hat. The Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Whoever kills a person who is granted protection by the Muslims shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise even though its fragrance can be smelt from a distance of forty years of travelling.” Why then storm diplomatic missions of Western nations over a trailer of an independently produced movie -which you’ve never seen ? Why defame our Prophet in the name of honouring him? Why give ammo to the bigots whose sole purpose is depicting Muslims as a bunch of violent barbarians? Illiteracy and foolishness are at the root of such behaviour.
This entire episode tells yet another tale of what a small group of extremists are capable of doing. A few Isalmophobes managed to make a disgusting amateur movie to debase Islam, then a group of Muslim use the movie to incite people to attack Western diplomatic missions across the globe. Both extremists meet their objectives; the moderate majority is left to deal with the consequences of the disaster left behind.