Anti-Islam Video Hurts


Junior Fatima Farha on islam.

By Fatima Farha

*Note: the (S) beside Prophet Muhammad’s (S) name stands for Sallalahu Alaihu Assalam in Arabic. It means “Peace Be Upon Him.”  Muslims say this after his name to show respect and as a way to ask Allah (“God” in Arabic, what Muslims refer to God as) to give peace to Muhammad (S). 

Muslims around the world, from different cultures and ethnicities and races, are tied together though their belief in Allah. Yet, we have something else in common too — we follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (S). The Prophet is thought to have been the most amazing human being in the world, a man that every single Muslim should follow, should try to be like, even though it may be very difficult. Muhammad (S) is an influential figure in Islam and Muslims love him wholeheartedly. Imagine the person you think of as your role model, the person you love very much and try to be like, the person you modeled your whole life after. That is who Muhammad (S) is to us Muslims.

When a person you look up to, a person who has influenced your life in so many ways, when this person is bashed, ridiculed, and insulted in the most dishonest, ignorant way, it hurts. It really really hurts. And it hurt us Muslims when our Prophet Muhammad (S) was teared down into a vile man in the anti-Islam video, “Innocence of Muslims”, written and produced by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

“Whoa I think that’s really mean and I think the person who made this should be respectful of other people’s religions. And they put this on YouTube! I think they put it up to get the reactions of the Muslims. They’re trying to instigate something,” said junior Stacey Canchola when she first heard about this video.

Junior Sareena Ali agrees with Canchola, “I feel it was wrong for those people to make that video because how would they feel if somebody made a video against their religion? I just think it’s sad that even in 2012 people can’t learn to accept and respect others’ religions. These people that made this video are forgetting that [we] Muslims have sentiments too.”

This extremely despicable video isn’t very long. It’s barely 15  minutes actually. But in this short period of time, Nakoula manages to insult the entire religion of Islam and the person the entire Muslim community looks up to. Nakoula doesn’t even use his real name. He uses the alias Sam Bacile, and claimed this video to be a trailer for a longer film called “Real Life of Muhammad and Muhammad Movie”. He attacks the Prophet and makes very hateful remarks against the entire Muslim community. He tries to make us feel foolish for following the teachings of such a crude man who was apparently a wife beater, a child killer, and a pedophile. NBC News said that the video tries to make Muhammad (S) out to be a “womanizer, homosexual, and a child abuser”, while making us Muslims seem like people who are dangerous and trouble-makers, determined to beat women and children.

I wouldn’t blame anybody for not wanting to watch this video — it was a painstaking process for me as well, and I regret every minute of it, but it had to be done. Nonetheless, here’s a little synopsis, in the most non-sickening way: The video begins with Egyptian Muslims trashing the homes of Egyptian Christians, while the soldiers do nothing about it. A Christian doctor explains to his daughter and his wife how these Muslims are dangerous, and that they are terrorists. The rest of the video continues in a disdainful manner. It goes ‘back in time’ to when Muhammad (S) was born. He is shown to be an illegitimate child who is brought up by some man, and is continously called the ‘unknown father’. Muhammad (S) is depicted as a man who is extremely foolish and rude. His wife, a woman Muslims believe to be one of the greatest women in Islam, apparently asked her cousin to create a book for Muhammad (S) using verses from the Torah and the Bible. One of the most irritating portions of this video was when three men wield blood-spattered swords, claiming to have taken the lives of people for the sake of Allah, for the sake of Islam. The remainder of this extremely annoying video shows pretty much similar ideas.

I think whoever makes these degrading videos about someone who has been so influential to the world is just rude and disrespectful and ignorant,” said math teacher Tayyaba Ahmad. I couldn’t agree with her more.

Nakoul produced a shameful video full of vindictive and vile scenes that aren’t even filmed correctly. Nakoul is in denial if he thinks of himself as a film-maker. The acting is horrible and the setting is quite hilarious. The fact that a video was even made showing Muhammad (S) is insulting enough to Muslims. Muslims are against the idea of their prophets being represented by other human beings. To be honest though, the acting and the making of the video are incredibly mediocre.

According to the Huffington Post,  actress Cindy Lee Garcia , who appeared in the film is now suing Nakoul because she was unaware that she would have to act out such disrespectful scenes. She is ashamed and upset, and claims that Nakoul had told her that they were simply making a movie on ancient Egypt, not against all of Islam. Garcia also said that her script included none of the vile words said against Islam, but her voice was dubbed in. It’s a morbid joke, but the joke’s on Nakoul.

After the release of this video, demonstrations occured in many nations of the Middle East, particularly Libya. Their furious protesting concluded in many being killed, including the U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The entire world was protesting. Other nations include the United Kingdon, Iran, Israel, France, Denmark, Nigeria, Somalia, India, and many many more. The Muslims speaking out against this video are doing so in quite a violent manner, resulting in arrests, injuries, and murders.  The reaction to these bloody ways of protesting are the same for Muslims and non-Muslims alike: violence is not the answer.

Junior Zuzu Antonow first heard about this entire video from her mother, and she feels that it was just a huge disaster. She agrees that it is very insulting towards Muslims, but also mentions that Muslims reacting to it in such a manner is not the correct way to go against it: “If they’re [Muslims] are being falsely accused of being a terrorist, then why use bombs to protest?” she said.

Ahmad agrees with Antonow on a certain level, but believes that there is more going on behind the scenes. Ahmad said, “I am against them [Muslims] responding with violence because it puts down Muhammad’s (S) teachings and what he stood for. But I think the way everyone is behaving this way is out of anger of the hate they get on a daily basis.” Ahmad thinks the reasons the demonstrations in the Middle East were more ferocious than the ones in other Muslim countries was because the Middle East countries are attacked more than any other Muslim country. Ahmad’s outlook on the entire situation is this: “It is naive to think that they are only reacting to the video. There are political reasons behind it.”

Ahmad brings out a very good point; there are many other reasons behind the demonstrations that have occured. This anti-Islam video was probably the spark that ignited a whole new wave of violence from those nations that are hated on daily because of their religion. Social studies teacher Matthew Wiemer sees the entire matter as a hate crime against the Muslims, but the reactions put a negative light on them as well.

“I think the movie was designed to be hateful to the people of a specific religion – Islam. The reaction of the minority of Muslims unfortunately makes it harder for the majority of the Muslims who don’t want to act violently,” said Wiemer.

This video, along with many other events surrounding the Muslims in the past couple of months have triggered a sense of defense and safety among the Muslim students. Many of us are scared now, especially after the shootings in Wisconsin, Missouri, and even here in Morton Grove, Illinois. When the Muslim Education Center (MEC) was shot in August, many of us were scared to death, especially because we never expected a hate crime to take place in this area, an area we always believed to be tolerant of all religions and ethnicities. It happened during a time when many of our family and friends were inside the building. My brothers and my father arrived at the mosque only one hour after the shooting. The release of this ignorant video soon after these frightening events is as painful as rubbing salt on wounds.

“It’s sad that even though Muslims in general aren’t responsible for what happened in the past in the U.S. (i.e. 9/11), Muslims still get targetted for hate crimes like this. What’s even more saddening is that not only does this hate exist on a national/international level, it exists locally in the communites we live in as well. Overall, it’s disappointing to see that we live in a society that is plagued by such hate. I hope things get better soon,” said senior Talha Ahmed.

Ahmed’s words describe my thoughts exactly, and the feelings of many Muslims not only in this school, but in this nation. Yet, Muslims being impatient and violent against the video and these hateful crimes are not doing what, as Ahmad pointed, Muhammad (PBUH)would have liked us to do. He was a very kind, patient man, who would never fight hate with hate, fire with fire. Muhammad (S) was a man who really wanted Muslims to stand united against hate, but in such a way that wouldn’t be murderous, but in a peaceful way. If Muslims today would just stand hand in hand and patiently speak out against these crimes, then maybe, just maybe, the exact image that the ignorant people and media have procured of us Muslims would be washed away and prove to be the opposite of what we really are. If we use our voices rather than our weapons, someday, Muslims will be seen as a peaceful people, of a peaceful religion.

Hafsa Wahid contributed to this article.