Like many Americans, I watched in horror the news of the storming and setting fire to the US consulate in Banghazi, Libya. This event turned into a tragedy with the death of the US ambassador in Libya, along with three others. I couldn't help but be disappointed with Muslims and Arabs for being manipulated with such extreme ease.
Below are a couple of observations on the subject:
Attacking on the 911 anniversary
The attack on Americans in Libya happened on 911, of all days. That's a day when, every year, the world is reminded that terrorists from the Middle East committed a horrible crime against innocent american civilians and noncombatants. As an American of Middle Eastern origin, I feel that despite all the talk about Islamophobia and post 911 backlash, the US still reacted as positive as it can, managing not to mass-deport Arabs and Muslims. We are still trying, as a country, to regain a positive prospective and move on. Tragedies like this one, however, on the anniversary of 911, are sure to raise doubt in some minds about the wisdom of trying not to generalize or stereotype about Muslims. Today, there is someone, somewhere, thinking "what the heck? maybe they're all violent terrorists after-all".
Muslims, in their repeated violent reactions to provocations, are making it too easy for hate groups to brand all Muslims as "terrorists", or at least as a culture with propensity for violence.
Lack of appreciation for the recent US solidarity with the Libyan revolution
How honorable is it to attack the US consulate and kill Americans, when America was instrumental in helping the revolution in libya succeed in the first place?!
Without American air power, and the courageous decision by the US to deploy that air power in support of the Libyan rebels, there would have been no rebel victory.
The United States acted even as the revolutionary Egypt stayed on the sidelines, and the Arab and Islamic world was content with issuing statements of condemnation.
Some might say that the US intervened because of Libyan oil, but the fact remains that American lives were put in harms way for the Libyans, when a decision could have easily been made to wait it out, and provide symbolic help later (like we're doing in Syria now).
So again I ask, where is the honor in attacking those who helped your revolution succeed?!
The unthinkable; Arabs killing their guests
Despite the highly publicized negative aspects of contemporary Middle Eastern political and social life, there is one thing that is undeniable, the enduring tradition of Arab hospitality, and the pride most Arabs take in treating their guests with respect and generosity.
The American ambassador and the US diplomats were the guests of the Libyans. The islamic militants dishonor themselves and the rest of Libya, by attacking and killing these guests. This may ring hallow with non-Arabs, but believe me when I say that the symbolism of Arabs killing their guests is huge for an average citizen of that region.
It is a missed opportunity for the local political leaders when they fail to drive home this point and explain it to the public in simple terms. If they did, they might see demonstrations in support of the US in Banghazi and tripoli the following day; what a change of political dynamics that would be!
During the recent events we were once again witnessing an anti-Muslim group of individuals pushing the right buttons to trigger a violent response, and gain from it politically.
In this case an Egyptian Christian (based on the latest reports) with a political agenda, make a low budget anti-islam film in the United States and release it two months before a crucial US election. I assume that the objective here was to incite muslims to violence, watch Americans get killed in Muslim countries, then somehow blame president Obama for it. This strategy might actually work in getting a few undecided votes in a tight election, but thats not what's really sad about this. What's sad is that Muslims and Arabs are being handled like a 9 year old child, and are making it so predictably easy to be manipulated.
There is a motto among some religious Christians in America, and that is "what would Jesus do?". There is even a bracelets to go with that, with the abbreviation "WWJD".
Muslims (conservative or liberal) might want to consider a different strategy in dealing with insults against Islam and prophet Mohammed; they may want to start asking themselves "what would Mohammad do?!", or "WWMD".
Would Mohammad react "violently" when accused of being "violent"?, I'm guessing that he might want to prove the critics wrong by acting extra pacifist instead.
He may say to his conservative followers "please stop trying to defend me", because so far, their action have only resulted in more deaths in the name of Islam, and tarnishing the name for Mohammed.
Mohammad might decide that he and god don't need anyone to defend them. If the message and messenger are righteous, then they should NOT need the protection of mere mortals. Islam, and Mohammed, should be able to withstand criticisms, and even slander; if they can't then they're not worthy.
Mohammad might decide that the best way to fight slander is to present the opposing view i.e. "positive side of Islam", and not proving the critics right by trying to kill them.
Why do some in the Middle East think the US Government can stop offensive free speech?
The root cause behind the recent attacks on US embassies and consulates is not a film defaming Islam, but rather the mistaken perception by some Arabs and Muslims that the US government should, and can, stop "inappropriate" free speech, and it simply chooses not to.
This ill founded expectation is coming from a region were journalists and activists are often prosecuted for saying, or printing, views that are deemed "offensive" by political leaders. Politicians in the Middle East have mastered the art of mixing religion with political agendas. As a result, there is a very little differention between arrests for "offending" Islam, and arrests for acts "offending" the political establishment. Most political leaders in the Middle East find it easier to govern if they brand themselves as the defenders of the faith, just like Christian leaders did in the middle ages. In extreme cases the criticism is considered an insult directed at "god appointed leaders", as in the case in Iran.
Despite the arab spring, the Middle East is ripe with locally acceptable exceptions to free speech, and many think that free speech as it exists in the USA is intolerable. Post revolution Egypt recently charged a journalist for criticizing, I mean "insulting", the new president. Post revolution Tunisia is already trying to limit free media by devising new restrictive laws, and the general revolutionary public doesn't seems to mind.
The fact of he matter is that in a true democracy, exceptions to free speech should be, and are, extremely rare. So long as there is no incitement to violence, and there is no actual harm to anyone, everyone should be able to say whatever they wish about anything, or anyone.
In the case of the "offensive" movie in questions, the US Government can not even take the movie makers to court, because there would be no legal basis for such action. If Muhammad were alive, he would have had the opportunity to challenge the movie makers in court for slander and defamation, but the US Government can not do so in behalf of the "prophet".
America is a great democracy because it doesn't make many exception to free speech; If the Middle East wants to have true democracies, it should consider the same.
Muslims might come to realize that there is no harm in tolerating criticism of Mohammad as an acceptable free speech, because it ensures that no citizen can ever be arrested, or jailed, for exercising their right to freely criticize less important figures, such as presidents or Government officials.
Disclaimer: This piece is not intended to insult any religion or religious figures. Please don't kill me!
who is the Israeli filmmaker to whom you refer?
The wall street journal and other news outlets initially reported that Sam Bacile" who was thought to be a Jewish (Israeli American) real estate tycon was behind the film.
It has since emerged that it's a pseudonym and the real author director is an Egyptian Christian with an American citizenship thought to be called "Nakoula".
I will make the correction.
Ever since the Nato spring in Lybia, we are seeing the spread of salafism in North Africa.
I would also not be surprised to find out the attack on the Embassy was Natanyaho's revenge on Obama.
Is an information true, that 100 jews (from US) financed that movie?
Based on the latest, that initial report of Jewish financing of the film has been denied by various Jewish groups in the united states.
These people deserved Qaddafi.
Actually the brunt of the NATO air war in the libya campaign came from European air forces.
Many, myself included, had warned that the supporting of KSA/Qatar backed Jihadis in the Libya campaign was misguided and could backfire. Neoliberals such as Juan Cole chose to ignore these warnings in enthusiastically supporting the war. Similar warnings are now being made in regards to supporting Jihadi armed groups in the Syrian conflict.
Doctor there was a mass deportation from the US of muslims without proper residency papers following 911. There was also at least one mass roundup which included persons with proper paperwork. I'm not offering an opinion on this matter of national security, merely pointing out that this did indeed take place under the direction of AG John Ashcroft.
The NATO strikes were started by the US and the French, then the US gave the European the bulk of the mission in order to emohasis the shared reponsbility for the workd's military intervention in libya. In fact as the US pulled back, the other NATO warplanes were having problems due to shortage of precision weapon ammunition in some NATO countries. The US was also instrumental in getting a UN resolution and pushing NATO to commit to helping the Libyans against the Libyan dicator and his forces in an expedited maner. This chronology of events in Libya and the critical role of the united states is well documented.
As far as deportation post 911, I'm not aware if any student or other middle easterner who was present in the country legally being deported simply due to being from the middle east. Deporting illegal immigrants and people overstaying their visa at a time of national security crisis is legitimate. In the past year, students from the middle east were the fastest growing segment in US universities and colleges.
What I find particularly disturbing about this incident is that an Egyptian Coptic Christian would fraudulently obscure his identity and his anti-Muslim bias as the work of an American Jew and claim his backers were also Jews in a blatant case of spreading Islamophobic propaganda among Americans domestically and inflaming sensitivities about the portrayal of the Prophet Muhammed among Arabs in the Middle-East that ultimately has ended in unacceptable violence. It is tragic this vulgar and disgusting film was translated into Arabic and sent to journalists in Egypt in order to rally extremist Muslims whom we might expect to react violently to this defamatory and derogatory film. From there this film was spread to Libya and this triggered the tragic murder of our US Ambassador. It is fortunate that we know in the case of Yemen, no one interviewed had ever seen the film and a majority of demonstrators protested peacefully until a bunch of extremist thugs got involved. We cannot allow Islamophobes trying to pin their disgusting actions on Jews, whether they are American-Jews or Israeli. There are enough problems with strained relations between Egypt and Israel, and we know these extremists will use any pretext to delegitimize Jews and Israel as a way to pick a fight that must be prevented. Fortunately, people on this side worked hard and fast to identify who this criminal Egyptian Coptic Christian who conspired with a number of American Islamophobes to create this mess.
I hear you!
I feel bad for the Coptic Christian minority of Egypt for being dragged into this by one of their own. Muslim leaders in Egypt should be proactive and work hard to ensure that there is no violent backlash against the Christians as this story evolves.
A Christian Coptic? I don't think so. Sounds like this Bacile is trying very hard to get the Egyptian Christian Coptic population killed or at least stimulate violence against it. Somehow I doubt he would publish something like this if he really was a Coptic Cristian worrying about his family in Egypt...
Anon 1:35 PM
Unfortunately, it is very possible that amongst the Coptic community there are imbeciles such as this guy.
thank you JF--- the guy was fraudulently claiming to be an Israeli Jew.
The logic of events should always be as follows:
It is always the Israelis !!!! until proven otherwise.
The chance of being wrong is bearly 1%
Azeri by fortune and Iranian by Grace of God
and a fool by avocation as well as
a douche in London.
( and which sort of bear constitute bearly 1%)
I strongly agree with your comment.
Do famous Coptic community leader Mr. Morris Sadek and another gentlemen Steve Klein, work for other agencies too?
Was that "coptic action" meant to eradicate their own sister communities in Africa and ME, too?
I believe that in case of an israeli attack against Iran, some muslims may abstain from revenge against israel, because now it is "clear" that Christians make that blasphemy not israel.
what a bitch ! 9:18 you are and a 99% idiot c..... ! loooooooool
you seem to have not understood the barely and bearly joke.
European humor gets it.
(And don't try to multiply urself to claim u aint the only one.)
Anon 5:32 PM
Don't you mean Azari?
Strange,only the people that support the Baku republic claim to be Azeri.
And besides,since the closure of the nest of Islamist rapists in London.I like to know why have they left you behind?
Dariush London 5:32PM
I am one of others who SUPPORT YOU.
Keep well and strong !!
Anon 4:54 PM
Anywhere else in the civilized world where free speech exists, if you say something about a certain religion be it Christian, Jewish, Mormon, Catholic, Scientology... etc, it eventually gets forgotten or thrown in the waste bin. With the Muslims, it's just another reason to torch your own city, murder and rape anything in site and then blame Israel. Same thing for the past 2000 years...
I agree with The first part of your comment wholeheartedly, but try changing the world "Muslims" to "Jews" in your second sentence and see how hateful we all can sound.
Anon 12:44 AM
I strongly disagree. You want to criticize Islam, that's one thing, but when you criticize the prophet of the religion and trust me, it is different. Secondly, there are hundreds mouth pieces in USA to take the side of Jewish/Christian complaints such as Fox News, Anti-Defamation League and nothing is pushed as an expression of freedom of speech. But anything Islam related, it's pretty much "see Islam is not tolerant when others call their prophet a pedophile." That's BS. How would Christians like if the Pope is shown sleeping with a underage child or if Hitler is praised in a movie and somehow be related to Moses.
Anon 6:29 AM
Lots of comedians have made fun of Jesus and it hasn't made him less of a prophet.
Same goes for Abraham.I think there are a lot of serious issues to overcome in the Muslim society in the next few years.
Fazeli... change the word? Why? Jews don't react this way, in fact no one in the civilized world reacts this way and if they do, they get sent to prison where they belong. Anon 6:29... the BS is that regardless of what anyone says about the Pope or Hitler, Buddha or Mohammed, it is not different and it doesn't give anyone the right to murder.
I say that because the nazis thought they had a good understanding of the Jews and a good basis to discriminate against them as a people.
When you generalize about Muslims , you maybe committing the nazi sin of generalizing.
When I, as a Muslim, critic my people I have more latitude, but as a non Muslim you should consider role reversal before you generalize liberally.
Bottom line, all Muslims were not all bad for 2000 years, and not all are angry and confused now. We have our common humanity and we should be able to relate to each other even if the majority in one group seems to be heading in the wrong direction for a segment if their history.
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