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Date: 2024-07-16 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00003222

Religion ... Islam
Too much intolerance

Behind the controversial film ... An amateur film mocking Prophet Muhammad spurs attacks on US diplomatic missions in Benghazi and Cairo.

COMMENTARY
There are important lessons in this story. The death of diplomats is only a small part of the story, but an important part. The power of modern technology and networks is another part of the story.

The idea that 'knowledge is power' is an old idea ... but it has new meaning in the modern age when knowledge, or at least inforation, can be transmitted very quickly and essentially everywhere. The 'network effect' is very powerful, and very difficult to control.

Another old idea is that 'you can kill a person, but you cannot kill an idea'. The ideas embedded in information cannot be confronted and stopped by clumsy military power, no matter how big. They can, however, be beaten by 'better ideas'.

My experience around the world ... for more than fifty years ... suggests to me that there are more nice people than nasty people by a ratio of more than 50 to 1 .. maybe 100 to 1. There are relatively few evil people ... but it is evil people who often get to have a huge amount of power and influence.

Evil acts get in the news. Good news is not news and the media ignores it most, if not all the time.

It seems to me that we need to get the power of social media to smother evil messages with good messages ... to call out evil without making evil the star of the story.

What has been going on for the past fifty years and called 'good governance' is nothing of the sort. Mostly it is a front for a lot of evil stuff that cannot easily be seen ... nothing much more than a veneer behind which 'anything goes' as long as it serves the rich and powerful elite. A whistle blower who knows something and tries to do something about it, does not stand a chance. In some regimes it can cost the whistle blower his or her life. In other places one loses one's career.

This story is only the tip of an iceberg. Hate, intolerance, ignorance are all feeding into something which can easily get out of control.
Peter Burgess

Behind the controversial film An amateur film mocking Prophet Muhammad spurs attacks on US diplomatic missions in Benghazi and Cairo.


IMAGE Demonstrators scaled the walls of the US embassy in Cairo to protest against the film Innocence of Muslims [EPA]

An obscure film entitled Innocence of Muslims has sparked riots at US diplomatic posts in Egypt and Libya.

The amateur, two-hour-long film, which cast dozens of actors, was produced in California in 2011 by Sam Bacile, a 52-year-old Israeli-American real-estate developer who lives in the US.

About $5m was raised to produce Innocence of Muslims, according to AP. Bacile, whom the Wall Street Journal quoted describing Islam as 'a cancer', said he raised the money from about 100 Jewish donors.

The film portrays Islam’s Prophet Muhammad as a fraud and a womaniser, and depicts him having sex. The entire film has only been shown once in public, at a theatre in Hollywood, says Bacile.

Bacile explained he made the film because “after 9/11 everybody should be in front of the judge”, the Associated Press news agency reported. 'Even Jesus, even Muhammad.'

In Egypt and Libya, public anger at the video spilled over on Tuesday, leading to the death of the US ambassador in Benghazi, Libya and the evacuation of embassy workers in Cairo.

Bacile is now reportedly in hiding.

Spread on social media

How did an obscure film come to have international ramifications?

A trailer of the film was first posted on YouTube by a user called 'sam bacile' in July 2012, and has received about 11,000 views to date.

The trailer began to get much more attention in September. On September 4, the same user posted a version dubbed in Arabic, which has garnered more than 70,000 views.

Morris Sadek, a Coptic Christian born in Egypt but who lives in the US, told AP he had been promoting the film on his website. He also tweeted a link to the trailer on September 9.

Sadek, the head of the National American Coptic Assembly, is known for his vehemently anti-Islam views, and told the Wall Street Journal that “the violence that it [the film] caused in Egypt is further evidence of how violent the religion and people are”.

Terry Jones, the Florida pastor whose burning of Qurans in 2011 spurred riots across the Muslim world leading to several deaths, also reportedly promoted the film.

The Arabic version of the trailer received heavy media coverage in Egypt last week, including by controversial TV host Sheikh Khaled Abdallah, who reported on the film on September 8. A clip of the show was posted to YouTube on September 9, where it has received almost 400,000 views so far.


AJE News Middle East
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2012 14:59
The text being discussed is available at
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/09/201291214042970150.html
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