Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Muslims Denounce Film

Some people “get it” but apparently others don’t.

Here, with commentary, are some of the reactions from the religious to that low budget film insulting the prophet Muhammad which touched off the violence in Libya.

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai:

"Desecration is not part of the freedom of expression, but a criminal act that has now badly affected the righteous sentiments of 1.5 billion Muslims all over the globe."

I suppose that depends upon the form the desecration takes. Physically damaging a religious icon owned by someone else, a house of worship or a religious cemetery is certainly a property crime. You know, like what the Taliban did when they blew up the statue of Buddha. Making fun of a religious icon in a low budget film isn’t. It’s rude but it’s not criminal.

Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil:

"We ask the American government to take a firm position toward this film's producers within the framework of international charters that criminalize acts that stir strife on the basis of race, color or religion."

Nope, sorry, can’t do that. A little thing called the 1st Amendment gets in the way. Allow me to suggest that Muslims grow a bit thicker skin. Why do you care what some fourth rate film says?

Pakistan issued a statement condemning "a defamatory video clip in the U.S., maligning the revered and pious personality of the Prophet Muhammad.”

This is perfectly OK. While the film maker was within his rights to make the film, the Pakistanis are within their rights to express their displeasure with the film. Perhaps they’d like to refuse all future U.S. aid in protest?

Iran's Mehr news agency quoted Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying the United States has a "direct moral responsibility" to stop insults against holy Muslim figures.

Nope, that doesn’t work either. Freedom of Speech trumps your silly religious rules. To be quite honest with you insulting Islam may be rude and boorish but there’s no “moral responsibility” to keep people from being rude and boorish.

The Vatican in Rome got into the act as well. The Vatican’s chief spokesman Federico Lombardi said the violence showed the need to respect religions and avoid insulting believers and continued "The serious consequences of unjustified offence and provocations against the sensibilities of Muslim believers are once again evident in these days."

I agree that “unjustified” attacks or any gratuitous insults should be frowned upon and I think it's safe to put this film in that category. However, the response was all out of proportion to the offense and that's the problem. Until Muslims learn that they're not entitled to blow stuff up and kill people because their feelings are hurt, they'll be barbarians unworthy of respect.

However I disagree with the idea that religions need to be respected. Religions are silly things that do nothing to deserve respect. I put them on the same level as fairy tales. They're just not nearly as entertaining as most fairy tales so why the hell should I respect them or anyone who believes in them? Of course, simply because I don't respect something or someone doesn't give me the right to insult them without justification. No, I'm not being hypocritical. I know perfectly well I insulted religions just now but, to my mind, Freddy was asking for it and the insult was justified. Trust me, I will attack whenever some religious yahoo tries to tell me what to do.

Here’s the bottom line, Freedom of Speech is non-negotiable. You’re free not to like what someone says and exercise your Freedom of Speech in response but you are not allowed to use violence in an attempt to stifle the exercise of Free Speech. The Muslim world needs to understand and accept this simple fact.


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