Anti-Islam Film Gives Extremists An Excuse For Violence

The recent attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya as well as the other attacks and protests in the Muslim world have all been in response to a low-budget film being made in the United States that depicts the Muslim prophet Muhammad in a negative light.  The film reportedly depicts Mohammed as a womanizer and child molester.  While it is understandable that this film would anger Muslims, the fact that it is serving as an excuse for violence against innocent Americans is worrisome.

The First Amendment gives Americans the freedom to make a film like this one if they so choose.  While the U.S. is in no way sponsoring or supporting the production of this film, it seems that this fact makes absolutely no difference to many of the violent protestors.  This situation is one where it appears that our Constitutional protections may put some Americans in danger.  While other western nations such as Germany are thinking of banning the film, our Constitution prevents us from doing the same.  Banning the film may serve to alleviate potential violence but, at least in the U.S., it appears the Constitution stands in the way.

Many Muslim extremists are always looking for an opportunity to attack the U.S.  When extremists can find something that they can use to justify their actions, it makes their moral position stronger.  This film is certainly giving Muslim extremists an excuse to attack Americans.  Many Muslims, not just extremists, are incensed by this film.  The fact that these recent attacks were spurred on by the film may give some of these extremists a more sympathetic view in the eyes of some non-radical Muslims.  Giving extremists an excuse to attack the U.S. is certainly the worst side-effect of this film.

The U.S. is in a hard place here.  The U.S. is bound by the First Amendment to protect the freedoms of the filmmakers to make this film, while at the same time wanting to discourage this film because of the danger it poses to Americans worldwide.  What should the U.S. do about the constitutional question this film poses?  Do you feel that this film is being used as an excuse for terrorist attacks?   For more information about the attacks and protests this film has fueled see http://news.yahoo.com/violent-clashes-over-anti-islam-film-3-nations-114415524.html.

3 comments

  1. I think this is a really difficult situation. Obviously, the visualization of Mohammed incites fury in conservative Muslims. This is no different than the anger I’d expect all Americans to feel as they see images of the American flag being burned in the streets of Middle Eastern countries. However, as American’s we understand that there is a fundamental right to express ones opinion through speech or actions–no matter how much we may disagree. Clearly, this concept is lost on the handful of Muslims who are responsible for these heinous acts.

    Two additional thoughts:
    1.) In my opinion, the guy who made this movie is the biggest coward of them all. Who makes an insanely inflammatory movie and then goes into hiding as it spreads across the world?

    2.) Its really important to remember that the amount of Muslims who are actually protesting make up a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the world’s Muslim population. We should be careful to indict all Muslims as raging extremists when in fact it is only a very small handful.

  2. What the US can do about the film is indeed limited by the US Constitution – that means that the US cannot really do anything. As a country that stands behind the rights and freedoms our constitution protects, the government cannot and should not do anything. I do not think that this lack of action reflects poorly on our government, rather shows that free speech means free speech, and once speech starts getting limited and cut down, a slippery slope undoubtedly will follow. I think the motive and intent behind the film should be looked at – if this movie was made with the intent to be truthful, though unflattering, then I see nothing wrong with the film. However, if this film is a mere exploitation of our country’s freedom of speech, made to enrage Muslims all the while knowing nothing can be done about the movie due to the freedom of speech, then the film makers are who people should look to in order to fix this situation.

    Lastly, I do not necessarily believe the film is being used as an “excuse” for a terrorist attack, but that this has truly engaged certain extremist Muslims who are going to react – in their mind – proportionally. Again, I think the filmmaker’s motive needs to be questioned by all; if the film was made with good intentions then this should not be inciting so much rage. Again, though, if the filmmakers made this movie knowing and hoping to offend Muslims, perhaps the anger is understandable (although justified).

  3. No excuse for violence and no excuse for “Filmic Terrorism” by some wrong headed christian…I am a muslim and Islam teaches respect for every prophet and every religion including Jesus, Bible and Christianity. I am sure christianity also does not allow defaming prophets, worship places and religions

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