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       Volume 11 |Issue 37| September 21, 2012 |


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Stoning a Beehive brings out the Bees


Bemused one can be as a Muslim; bewildered too is a believer of any other faith. How could a video that essays hatred in every frame for quarter of an hour against a religion be conceived, written, cast, shot, dubbed, edited, and aired out of the blue? The sniffers of Saddam's WMD and Osama's Abottabad hideout must have had their nasal channels blocked by clothes pegs not to have had any inkling. A movie requires months of work and the involvement of dozens of people, not all of who are reclusive hermits.

Out of curiosity, I saw the amateurish YouTube clip of the Made-in-USA hate movie, “Innocence of Muslims" AKA “Desert Warrior”, directed by a porn filmmaker Alan Roberts, and produced by anti-Islam proponent Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (AKA Sam Bacile), a convict of financial and drug-related crimes, jailed, granted probation, and who could now be jailed again.

To say the least the 'deeply cynical' video is 'disgusting and reprehensible', a view shared on television by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The poorly executed clip manifests the nauseating mind-set of those associated with it. Like millions of other non-Muslims, Senator Clinton too condemned the repulsive film, stressing that the US government had nothing to do with it. But by then the US envoy to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans had been killed by a mob protesting the vilification of Prophet Mohammad, pbuh. Rejecting the 'content and message' of the video Senator Clinton said it was made 'to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage'. She however added that, "there is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence."

Condemning the movie that was blatantly scornful of Prophet Mohammad, rioting spread to more than thirty countries. The makers of the video well expected the outrage, given the protests generated by The Satanic Verses, the uncalled-for cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad, the abuse of the Quran in Afghanistan and Iraq… Such unprovoked recurrent attacks on Islam and thereby Muslims has to stop.

Others censorious of the clip include Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who strongly condemned the anti-Islamic film and urged the US government to stop its sale and projection. 'No Muslim can tolerate such defamation of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SM), she said, urging the US government to award exemplary punishment to the filmmaker.

The actors in the movie claim to have been duped. Cindy Lee Garcia answered a casting call last year for Desert Warrior. She said shooting took place inside a church near L.A. in the summer of 2011. In the film Garcia's character was forced to give away her child to a Master George. But on YouTube, Garcia's lines appear dubbed over with another voice referring to Prophet Mohammad rather than George. How much more deliberate can a criminal be? The eighty-person cast, who feel the producer took advantage of them, released a joint statement to CNN saying they were 100% not behind this film and were 'grossly misled about its intent and purpose'.

Deadly attacks against US missions have also been denounced. There has been violent reaction in Muslim communities. But, why throw a stone at a beehive? Not a single attack of US missions took place before the irresponsible video was aired. Freedom of speech is not a license to hurt the sentiment of others. A blogger says: You have the right to free speech, but you don't have the right to yell 'fire' in a crowded theatre just for the heck of it. If then the audience panics and people get trampled and die, you will be on trial for manslaughter.

We live as a global family. Today a criminal finds it increasingly hard to hide. Each nation must respect the customs and religious beliefs held by other societies. A set of rules of one country cannot be applied on another country involving the people of another country. We must make greater efforts to understand each other, not by an Occidental yardstick or an Oriental, but by a global gauge calibrated to humanity and based on mutual respect.

Through this column we demand an apology from the filmmaker/s, assurance that the objective of all governments shall be to nip such fanaticism and social malaise in the bud, that prosecution of perpetrators of such crimes against any religion, belief, custom and creed shall be followed with exemplary punishments so that they shall be deterrents.

The on-going saga of the secretly shot topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate, besides being a severe breach of her privacy, is contextual. Media in the USA, UK, most of Europe and the rest of the world are not releasing the pictures, as that would anger a lot of people and hurt the sentiment of many. The media are right. I rest my case.

Post script: Bangladesh blocked YouTube's website airing the offensive film. Sheyana YouTube declined to take the film down, saying it fell within their guidelines, but blocked access to the film in India, Egypt and Libya because of 'special circumstances'. What about topless Kate in YouTube? Nahhh! That would be too improper.

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