So… a bunch of allegedly Christian – although the producer apparently passed himself off as being Jewish, which can hardly have helped matters – fuckwits have produced a film that portrays Islam, and the Prophet Mohammed, in a bad light. Sadly, a section of the worldwide Muslim community reacted in a depressingly predictable manner – rioting, damaging property and murdering people completely unrelated to the film.
I say sadly, because this is exactly the kind of response the film’s makers wanted. It’s given the opportunity for smug, bigoted Christians to sit back, point fingers and say, “See? There weren’t any Christians rioting and burning things when “The Last Temptation of Christ” came out!” And they have a valid point… as long as you ignore things like Christians murdering abortion doctors, and threatening teenager Jessica Ahlquist with rape and death, for daring to stand up for her constitutional rights. Given the nature of the people associated with the film – Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (a Coptic Christian, passing himself off as an Israeli-American) and Steve Klein (a wingnut who stalks “radical Muslims” in the USA, and whose groups have been branded hate groups by the SPLC), the rioting was the perfect result of their actions. Not only does it prove the perverted point they were trying to make – which, incidentally, means that the blood of the American ambassador and the others who were murdered is on their hands – but suddenly their z-grade movie has been catapulted into the worldwide headlines, granting it about a billion times more exposure that is deserves.
Of course, the precedent was there. That’s probably one of the reasons why insane preacher Terry Jones – the man who burnt copies of the Qu’ran and hung an effigy of Obama outside his church – jumped on board. We only have to remember the fatwa issued on Salman Rushdie for “The Satanic Verses” – although I have to admit, I can’t say I’m opposed to it. Anybody who writes something that awful does not deserve to live – and the ructions over the Mohammed cartoons.
However, this is not a case of “Islam bad.” It’s a case of people being manipulated to serve somebody else’s agenda. I’m willing to bet, of all those people rioting in Egypt and Libya and Yemen and Sudan, most of them didn’t even know why they were rioting, and certainly hadn’t seen the film. All that most of them knew – probably imparted by the imams at their mosque – was that America had once again insulted Islam. Why else attack the embassies, when the US government had nothing to do with it… unless you believe certain Tea Party morons, who genuinely believe that this was a false flag operation by Obama? The countries involved are hardly the US’s friends at the best of times, and there will always be a mob out there somewhere, ready to be manipulated.
The situation can’t be helped when dribbling idiots like Mitt Romney – the man who might just be the next President – jumps feet-first into the fray, by accusing the Obama administration of “apologizing for our values.” These “values” being a religiously insensitive movie, designed to spark outrage, and which the Egyptian embassy was condemning, in an effort to prevent the riot taking place.
Yet, you might well ask why it is that a section of Muslim society is so intolerant. Why are they the ones doing the killing and burning, and not Christians, or Jews, when something offends them? Actually, let me exclude the Jews from this. Their disproportionate assault on Palestine puts them on the naughty step too.
There’s several reasons why radical Muslims are so intolerant:
- They’re raised in a culture that shuns external influences
- They’re raised to believe that their religion is the only religion that matters and everybody else are infidels
- Authority is wielded by people with religious power, who claim to speak on behalf of God, and who demand unquestioning obedience
- Religion permeates every aspect of day to day life; the whole concept of “Insha’Allah”, praying 5 times a day, treating their women like shit, etc
- What education they have – and it’s generally very little – is geared around hammering the doctrines of their faith into their heads
I’m not saying that’s a comprehensive list, it’s just how I see it.
The problem is, this is exactly the kind of society the religious right in the US envisions for themselves. Change “infidels” to “liberals” and “Insha’Allah” to “God willing” and you have the fundie utopia: poorly educated people; raised in a system where religion trumps science; taught to sit down, shut up and believe what your elders tell you; ruled by people who genuinely believe God is speaking to them; and everything else is just liberal multiculturism, or atheist lies, and can be ignored.
Given the current attitude of these people towards homosexuals, women and “people who don’t think like us,” we can only hope that their utopia never comes to fruition.
Because that would be the dead of tolerance.