Ask the Experts: What are the dangers in releasing an anti-Islamic movie?
After the release of the anti-Islamic movie detailing the violent history of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed provoked an attack that killed the United States ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, many are looking further into the dangers of releasing such a video.
The movie has been a hot topic for the past week and continues to incite violence in the Middle East. This is also sparking controversy in the U.S. presidential race, as both candidates offer their views toward the Middle East.
The Daily Orange spoke with three professors about this issue.
The D.O.: With uproar across the Middle East, what are the dangers in producing such a video?
Tazim Kassam, an associate professor of religion, said:
“Surely you can already see the deadly repercussions around the world. This pathetic video was made deliberately to insult and anger Muslims. Freedom of speech has devolved into ‘free’ speech — license to say anything whatsoever.
“This is a truly dangerous situation with lethal consequences. The profound ignorance of Islam, its history and system of values has created a vacuum that gets filled with any vile, misleading and patently false information.
“What can be done about this mutual incomprehension? There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but a good start might be to look at oneself in the mirror and see how one’s own face gets distorted when we defame others.”
Hossein Bashiriyeh, a lecturer of political science, said:
“As we know already, there was a great deal of tension between the West and the Islamic world. The gap between the two worlds has been widening.
“The dangers in producing such videos, or any other form of symbolic warfare, are the further intensification or the release of the pent-up mutual suspicion. The dangers are already visible in action. What is more: Such a state of affairs may turn into a second Cold War, particularly if more consensus and unity develops in the divided world of Islam.”
Miriam Elman, an associate professor of political science, said:
“The danger in anti-Muslim films like this one is that the public outrage that they trigger can be all too easily exploited by self-serving groups that want to discredit the new, fledgling democratic governments emerging in the region, as in the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
“For the most part, what the people of the MENA region see is an America that selectively supports the region’s Democrats when it serves its own interests, as with U.S. support for Libya’s rebels, but little for Bahrain’s; an America that kills innocent Muslims through the use of unmanned drones; an America that has contributed to vast economic inequalities in the region by insisting on neoliberal economic reform and an America that undermines the legitimate right of Palestinians to a state.
“The film was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back. The people of the MENA need to see and hear more about what is good about America and American foreign policy. If they saw more of that, maybe horrible films produced and disseminated by a few Islamic citizens would not have as much of an impact.”
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