By Prof. Whitney S. Bodman
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Is it better to hate or to be hated? The unfolding story of the 14-minute pornographic collection of film clips about Muhammad raises this question. The film itself was represented as a trailer of a full-length feature film, though there may not ever have been more than what was posted on YouTube.

The first reporting, from the Wall Street Journal, was that the film was produced by “Sam Bacile,” an Israeli-American, supported by 100 Jews. Ah, so we can hate the Jews for producing a film so offensive to Muslims. Or at least Muslims can hate the Jews, who, of course, hate the Muslims. But then it was revealed that Steve Klein was involved in the film. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which follows hate groups in the United States, he is not Jewish, but a Christian white supremacist. Founder of Courageous Christians United in 1977, he believes that America is at war with Islam, “a cancer that WILL attack us and KILL as many as they can to further the Islamic doctrine of sharia” (his caps).
So it is not Jews who are to blame at all! It is a group of radical American Christians who want us to fear Islam and prepare for a holy war against Muslims who, in spite of being about 1% of the population, will somehow make us all subservient to sharia law. So Klein, along with a few other enthusiasts such as Robert Spencer, author of popular screeds against Islam and the Jihad Watch blog, and Pamela Geller, Atlas Shrugs blogger, peddle fear of Islam to us. They manufacture emails and claims about Islam that are distorted and often enough entirely fictional. Such myths of Muslim conspiracies inspired Anton Breivik’s massacre of 77 people in Norway, probably the murder of 6 Sikhs in Wisconsin, and numerous incidents of violence against Muslims and mosques across our nation.
But why make a film so clumsy and crudely done? It is not hard to guess. Such a film was bound to provoke reaction in the Muslim world. If you think that a holy war is coming, but somehow it fails to emerge, one can try to provoke it by whatever devious means one can dream up. If you can’t make enough of us hate them, you can inspire more of them to hate us. It serves the same end. The film is nothing but provocation.
But there is more. It has emerged that “Sam Bacile,” is actually Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian Coptic Christian of many aliases and a history of fraud. He said that the film tries to expose the hypocrisies of Islam. It does nothing of the kind. It manufactures whole-cloth fictions that expose only the sick imagination of the director. It was he who tried to blame the Jews, an example of ‘let’s you and them hate.”
There are Muslims complicit in this effort. The film was first posted on YouTube early in the summer, but ignored. The outrage was kindled when Shaykh Khaled Abdallah broadcast a clip of the film on Egyptian television on September 8th. Abdallah has a regular CairoTV show on which he lambasts Christians, liberals and the West.
Why exacerbate tensions between Copts and Muslims in Egypt? And between Americans and Muslims and Jews? Perhaps because, if the fear is stoked enough, maybe the holy war that Nakoula and Klein and Geller and Spencer and Abdallah so ardently wish for may finally come about.
But it won’t.
For every Muslim who protests the film, there are a million who do not. They sit at home, shrugging the latest insult off, or grieving that there are those who want more hate and fear in the world, not less. For every Muslim in the street, there is a Muslim group or leader – including our local Muslim leaders – condemning not only the film, but the deadly violence against four Americans in Benghazi and the violence at American embassies in the Muslim world. For every American who succumbs to the fear-mongering, there are more who do not, and count Muslims among their friends.
There are those who will do anything to make us hate and fear. Thanks be to God for those Christians, Muslims, and Jews – people of every faith and people of no faith – who have the courage and wisdom to do neither.
Article provided by Professor Whitney S. Bodman, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

10 Responses

  1. ﴿هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ﴾
    ৯) তিনিই সেই মহান সত্তা যিনি তাঁর রসূলকে হিদায়াত এবং ‘দীনে হক’ দিয়ে পাঠিয়েছেন যাতে তিনি এ দীনকে অন্য সকল দীনের ওপর বিজয়ী করেন, চাই তা মুশরিকদের কাছে যতই অসহনীয় হোক না কেন৷১৩
    It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion, although those who associate others with Allah dislike it.
    ১৩. মুশরিকদের জন্য অসহনীয় হলেও । অর্থাৎ যারা আল্লাহর দাসত্বের সাথে অন্যদের দাসত্বও করে থাকে এবং আল্লাহর দীনের সাথে অন্য সব দীন ও বিধানকে সংমিশ্রিত করে, শুধু এক আল্লাহর আনুগত্য ও হিদায়াতের ওপর গোটা জীবনব্যবস্থা কায়েম হোক তারা তা চায় না । যারা ইচ্ছামত যে কোন প্রভু ও উপাস্যের দাসত্ব করতে সংকল্পাবদ্ধ এবং যে কোন দর্শন ও মতবাদের ওপর নিজেদের আকীদা-বিশ্বাস, নৈতিকতা এবং তাহযীব তামুদ্দুনের ভিত্তিস্থাপন করতে প্রস্তুত এমনসব লোকের বিরোধিতার মুখেও বলা হচ্ছে যে, তাদের সাথে আপোষ করার জন্য আল্লাহর রসূলকে পাঠানো হয়নি । বরং তাকে পাঠানো হয়েছে এ জন্য যে, তিনি আল্লাহর পক্ষ থেকে যে হিদায়াত ও জীবনব্যবস্থা এনেছেন তাকে গোটা জীবনের সব দিক ও বিভাগের ওপর বিজয়ী করে দেবেন । অবস্থা যাই হোক না কেন, তাঁকে এ কাজ করতেই হবে । কাফের ও মুশরিকরা তা মেনে নিক আর না নিক এবং এ বিরোধিতায় সর্বশক্তি নিয়োগ করলেও সর্বাবস্থায় রসূলের এ মিশন সফলকাম হবে এবং পূর্ণতা লাভ করবে । ইতিপূর্বে কুরআন মজীদের আরো দুটি স্থানে এ ঘোষণা এসেছে এক, সূরা তাওবার ৩৩ আয়াতে । দুই, সূরা ফাতহের ২৮ আয়াতে । এ স্থানে তৃতীয়বারের মত এ ঘোষণার পুনরুক্তি করা হচ্ছে । (আরো ব্যাখার জন্য দেখুন, তাফহীমুল কুরআন আত তাওবা টীকা, ৩২; সূরা আল ফাতহ টীকা ৫১ । )

  2. Brothers and Sisters,
    This film was bad. Never should have been produced, or shown. But it was.
    We must strive to grow past this. The Muslim world SHOULD NOT respond with violence. We should show that Islam is a religion if peace.
    Allah (swt) will judge the producers.

  3. It is a good article; However, I would like to comment on the following sentences:
    “For every Muslim who protests the film, there are a million who do not. They sit at home, shrugging the latest insult off, or grieving that there are those who want more hate and fear in the world, not less.”
    Every Muslim was hurt, insulted and emotionally disturbed by this film. Insulting Allah, our Prophet, or our Book is our insult, but the Muslims who do not protest think differently. These Muslims do not agree in dealing difficult situations with violence or breaking the law. These quiet Muslims want the Government to take action against the producers of such film. Freedom of speech does not mean insulting anyone or discriminating against anyone. There are always limits. The producers and supporters of this film are responsible for the protests and their consequences.

  4. Thanks to Bodman
    When some one start thinking that he is totally free from all and any responsibility their behavior becomes like cattle and they fail to realize any form of responsibility.
    even if their freedom causes Insult to some other human being they dont care.
    As a matter of fact such peoples are not human beings no matter even if they look like one but as afact they are not

  5. there are 3 ways of responding any bad thing[1]..take a stand and kill it from the roots with your action it requires courage without fear of consequences 2nd speak loud against the unjust it also require some boldness 3rd at least disregard all such things from the core of heart with all the sincerity and conscience ie ‘zameer’ every muslim today is reacting within his capacity. exception

  6. Every Muslim was hurt no doubt, and protests by Muslim masses on this nonsense film were reactive in nature, but unfortunatley many became voilent during the process which should have never happened.
    Any way there should be no excuse of burning public and priovate properties and killing others most of them again Muslims. Muslim Ummah led by their leader need to show a united,and peaceful response to such incidences of blasphamy,which are becoming a routine in the West.May Allah guide us all so that we can contribute better to the wellbeing of Muslim Ummah and all other humanity.

  7. Those Muslims sitting at home were all supportive to those who were on roads. If we see statistics wise , then 95 % of those protests with millions and millions of Lovers of Prophet MUHAMMAD SAW, all over the world were all very peaceful and very well organized. It shows that we do believe in the peaceful ways of protests and can do in the best way. The remaining 5% can be attributed to many reasons , the top one is the media always highlighting the negative part more about Muslims and then the presence of some bad people in those protests !

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