Innocence of Muslims-A A +A
Saturday, September 22, 2012
THIS 14-minute video that has sparked outrage across Muslim communities across the world and taken innocent lives in the bargain is really not worth watching. Unfortunately, you’ve got to watch the film to realize this.
The film was allegedly made by an Egyptian-born Coptic Christian named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula who initially identified himself as Sam Bacile, an Israeli-Jewish real estate developer. Nakoula’s claim that the film was funded by Jewish friends might have helped fan the flames among Muslims convinced the film was meant to insult Islam.
Let me state at the outset that I am not a Muslim.
No, I was not outraged by the film. But yes, I was shocked. I was shocked at how such a nondescript and in fact, poorly-made film could spawn so much hatred and violence in the Muslim world. Frankly, the film is simply too stupid to be taken seriously.
It seems like a satire but it doesn’t succeed as one. I would best describe it as a B-movie. Well, almost. There is nothing outstanding about the film—not the acting, the directing or the writing. Was the film offensive? Bigoted? Inflammatory? Well, it was lampooning at its worst.
Still, there are lessons to be learned from the production of the “Innocence of Muslims.”
First, let us be aware of the enormous powers of the Internet. This film was allegedly shown to an almost empty theater. But in cyberspace, it went viral. We should remind ourselves that the speed with which we should react should be inversely proportional to the speed with which fact or fiction spreads on the Internet. Sleep on it. Resist the urge to click and share.
Second, let us be wary about falling prey to the mob mentality. The digital age has dramatically increased our capacity to reach the world and channel its energies. It is a wonderful thing to be able to move mountains in seconds for a good cause. But not for violent ends. Let us learn to think individually. Learn to walk alone, not just with the throng.
Third, our faith should be stronger than a film. Let us not allow a film, a book, a cartoon strip or a work of art to destroy our religion or our God. When we resort to violence because we believe that our religious convictions have been mocked, we allow the haters, bullies and cowards to win. Our faith should make us stronger than all of their efforts combined.
Fourth, in our exercise of free expression, let us endeavor to be sensitive, purposeful and intelligent. While the products of our free expression may not always be acceptable to all and may at times even be offensive to some, let us always be guided by artistic or intellectual goals. Let us not resort to bigotry or bullying. Let us aspire to inspire not to incite or inflame.
While I respect the sensitivities of offended Muslims, I call upon all Muslims to disregard this film that boasts no artistic or intellectual merit. The insult is not on Islam. The insult is on the makers of this production. They insult themselves by making such an idiotic film.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 23, 2012.