From Mockery to Mayhem: The Anti-Muslim Video and its Repercussions (Cultural Arts Review)

Posted on March 8, 2013 by


          On July 2nd, the filmmaker Sam Bacile released his movie trailer called “Innocence of Muslims” for the entire world to see. It was not until September 11th, 2012 when the world saw the consequences of such a video. In his controversial short-film, Bacile mocks the Islamic religion, particularly it’s main prophet Muhammad.  He portrays the key Islamic figure as a violent pedophile and fraud, committing upsetting sexual acts and justifying them by reciting false Q’uran texts that he generates on the spot.  Alone from being a terrible movie because of the awful acting and the obvious green-screen background, it’s incredibly offensive to the Muslim people, which they took very seriously.  On September 11th, a date in which we associate the Twin Tower attacks to be, there was another onslaught of attacks that happened in Egypt and Libya in response to this video.  Four Americans were killed because of Bacile’s movie: Chris Stevens who was the U.S. ambassador in Libya, and three other embassy employees who worked in Libya.  Meanwhile, the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Egypt proved to be penetrable by angry Muslims, who destroyed the American flag and replaced it with the Egyptian one.

            As much as I do find this very offensive to the Islamic religion and the Muslim people, I can’t help but think that the Muslims took it a little bit too far.  I don’t think that it was necessarily the smartest move to create a video about a specific religion that we are on extremely rocky grounds with, and don’t agree with the idea and the portrayal of the prophet, but I am a firm believer in the freedom of speech.  Although this video was offensive and insensitive, I think that everyone has the right to voice their own opinion, no matter what it is.  One article states that, “committing violence because you’re offended is inexcusable and uncivilized. That you can support the right to free speech without approving of every use of free speech” (Poniewozik).  Although this is true, we must consider the cultural barrier that persists.  The Middle East does not have the same view and perspective about freedom of speech that we Americans have, so ethnocentrically speaking, we are judging another culture under false pretenses.

            The implications for the Islamic religion were obviously negative, but also for Judaism, because Bacile was Jewish.  Although I feel that this was over sighted because what called more attention to him, and what he was more identified with, was the fact that he was an American.  Having an American bash one of the main religions that presides in the Middle East was a poor decision, considering our past and our present with them.  The mocking of the Islamic culture does not portray them in a positive light, which just adds to their less-than-stellar reputation through the American eye, and to the rest of the world.  Having Bacile say that it’s a “fake” religion led by a man with faulty teachings is a huge hit to their religion, degrading the very core of their belief system.  The way that he portrayed the Islamic religion was that it was inferior to his religion, but more importantly, America itself.  With Bacile’s inferior depiction, he was just adding gasoline to the already explosive fire.

– Nicole Zibolski


Below is the link to watch Bacile’s 13-minute movie trailer. Viewer discretion is advised due to inappropriate actions.


Below are the links to three articles I retrieved from the internet to help write my blog.

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