Most Muslims around the world have thought that Innocence of Muslims, a cheap, insignificant and ridiculous film/video, was made to hurt Islam. But I do not believe for a moment that that is the case! The truth is even worse: I believe that this film was made specifically to provoke Muslims into a reaction which could be seen by the world as backward, violent and irrational. It succeeded, provoking Muslims to the extent that they, themselves, have hurt Islam by the way they have reacted.
Innocent people (and I am including those who were incited to protest) have already died as a result of the emotional and chaotic series of eruptions of violence in many countries. These people are precious to us and of course to God Himself. Neither God nor the Prophet would agree with such irresponsible actions by their followers. It is essential that we mature in our faith and realise that the more we ban things, the more they become attractive, popular and exciting. The Church has gone through similar experiences such as the film The Last Temptation of Christ or the more recent The Da Vinci Code. By banning books and films, people of faith gave these works extra publicity far beyond anything they could have dreamed of.
We also must acknowledge that such hurtful and disgusting acts like the production of this film about Islam cannot be stopped because there are not enough laws to protect religions from being targets of hate or suffering acts of discrimination. The internet is beyond the power of any country to control; countries can block particular websites but that would not have stopped this film. It is not America’s fault that someone made this amateurish, childish film somewhere on their soil. Innocence of Muslims is not a Hollywood blockbuster with a huge marketing budget and the top stars of our day! Without the excessive reaction it has generated, who truly would ever have seen this film?
What happened around the world, mass demonstrations against and condemnation of this film, should teach us a lesson that protesting against something wrong or evil should never lead us to committing the same quality of actions. Killing people is the worst way to highlight our rejection of anything however wrong it may be. All religions promote life and forgiveness rather than death and hatred. We must be aware and vigilant to the values of our faiths and resist the trap of demonising other faiths only because a few of their followers – or someone who is not of your own faith - have done something wrong. This generalisation has hit Islam very hard after 9/11 – Muslims suffered enormously because they were assumed to be terrorists too – and Muslims should be careful not to do that to others.
This is the ideal time to come together and refuse to fall into the trap of reacting to such petty provocations as this nasty little video. We must starve this pathetic film of the oxygen of publicity! We can only do this if we build bridges and work hand in hand to resist such ugly acts whenever they occur and promote the fundamentals of our faiths of love, reconciliation and respect rather than anger and outrage.
What we need especially now is the God-given wisdom to channel our energy and efforts to build our communities and celebrate our differences when so many genuine challenges face the world. Let us invest everything we have in order to spread peace and to support education and awareness to the benefit of all.