Hurting Religious Sensitivities! A Guilty Act
Bassam Javed


With extensive monitoring of US Homeland security and intelligence personnel on national security threats to the United States, it is naïve to believe that the US government at no moment could unearth a plot being hatched inside its territory that potentially risked American lives and interests elsewhere.

The fact that a damning anti-Muslim film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ got ready for screening on electronic media right under the nose of US Homeland Security personnel gives an idea as if the film had an official patronage under Obama administration. The sacrilegious film generated tsunamis of violent protests in the Muslim world towards high-handedness of US administration wherein instead of accepting its failure to prevent regular publishing and production of hate material against Muslim faith, it has not even apologized. Such is the arrogance of the Americans. The Muslims are enraged not only over the filming of anti-Muslim movie but also the subsequent American defiant and nonchalant attitude towards the issue. The US is not willing to show any remorse or act against the makers of this film neither it is willing to make amends in blocking the inflammatory use of so-called freedom of expression. Riding high on its military might it has resorted to sending hundreds of US Marines and warships to the shores of Muslim world to save Americans rather than prosecuting the perpetrators who financed hate Muslims movie. Germany has rejected US Pastor Terry Jones’s entry into the country for his anti-Muslim activities. The maker of this film Nakoula Basseley Nakoula with pseudonym Sam Bacile enjoys fraternal relationship with infamous US pastor who is linked with burning of Muslim Holy book ‘Quran’. He has a criminal record too. He was convicted for intent to making a banned drug substance and was also involved in a bank fraud case. He was awarded 21 months in prison with 5 years on probation. He was released from government custody in June last year and within the next two months he produced the sacrilegious movie. He said that he wrote the script of the controversial film that he titled as ‘Innocence of Muslims’ while being in detention. Strange and alarming as it is, jail authorities in USA do not keep a check on the activities of the inmates making it easier for convicts to plan terrorist and extremist activities in safer abodes to implement those plans once they get released from custody.

Noteworthy is the timing of the release of this hate Muslim movie. With the US presidential election approaching fast, the extremist elements in the United States are politically gaining in garnering hate between the Muslim and Christian faiths to pitch them against each other. With America fast becoming the bastion of anti-Muslim activities the other western countries must focus on stemming the US linked anti-Muslim campaigns to avoid creating crusades like environment. The West must address the home grown hatred against Muslims through some law that could prevent misuse of electronic and print media enjoying unbridled freedom of speech. Rob Wagner, once an excusive of Saudi Gazette newspaper wrote on the subject, “(anti Islam movie) is a perfect candidate as an exception to free speech rights since its creators deliberately focused on fomenting violence.”

The trend of ridiculing Islam and its followers is not new. The Muslims have not forgotten the sacrilegious acts of Salman Rushdie who wrote ‘Satanic Verses’, Danish cartoonist who through his works depicted Prophet Muhammad’s personality in misdemeanor, Terry Jones the American flag bearer of Anti-Islam campaign and now this film, all have led to violence and sequential development of eternal hate for Americans and hence killing of its ambassador in Libya. This phenomenon if not dealt firmly may potentially lead to global instability if Westerners remain adamant on not curbing hate and vengeance against Islam and Muslims in the name of ‘freedom of expression’ and the Muslims’ equally resolved to defend Islam may lead to global instability.

The government of Pakistan has rightly blocked the ‘You Tube’ network website that was repeatedly airing the provocative film. US must for once put aside its arrogance on hate Muslim campaigns launched in its homeland and take to task the perpetrators of the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ to the court of law. Such films and other hate material institutionally originating from the United States and some European countries are serious threat to the world peace and therefore needs intervention of the United Nations to protect rights of 1.5 billion Muslims across the globe.

The existing US laws allows prosecution of a person when it is established that he has committed an act of guilt. In Nakoula’s case there is no doubt that he carried out an act of guilt, only if US authorities act according their conscience and vigorously pursue the case. Nakoula’s act has created a stir in the Muslim world. It not only widened the gap between Muslims and Christians but also surged violence and hatred against the US authorities. The US authorities have conveniently housed him in an undisclosed but comfortable location and also moved his family members recently to unite with him so that they can live their lives under state protection instead of dealing with him severely. Elsewhere, the beleaguered Muslim World that cannot do anything against the arrogance of Americans but to vent their frustration over the issue through violence, continue to raise their voices. The fury that is being reflected in their reaction has no precedence as it is loathed with other US led instability moves in the Muslim world like its strong backing of Israel in denying a homeland for Palestinians, its interference in Iraq and Afghanistan and creating stir in the Arab world through engineered ‘Arab spring’. The reaction may loose its fury only if US declares that it will prosecute all culprits involved in making this sacrilegious film and take steps to ensure that religious sensitivities do not fall within the ambit of ‘freedom of speech’ laws.