All News & Blogs
Muslims in Qatar peacefully protest a film produced by extremists in America ridiculing Muhammad.
Osama Faisal/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Visit the Photo Place
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.--Let's be careful not to let the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya reinforce negative stereotypes about Muslims and lead to retaliation.
Whether the attack was a response to the film "Innocence of Muslims," or whether the protest over that film provided the attackers with cover, it cannot become a justification for attacks on ordinary Muslims here or in Libya.
It must be noted first that the film is a piece of blatant anti-Muslim propaganda. It portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer, a pedophile, a bumbling idiot, and a bloodthirsty fanatic and anti-Semite.
Second, the film is not an anomaly. It joins a slew of similar films produced by a well-funded Islamophobic network. Another such film is the "Third Jihad," shown for months to NYPD recruits as part of their training, which argues that Muslims in the U.S. plan to infiltrate and take over the country.
Third, the Islamophobic network has attacked mosques around the country and incited fear and hatred. A mosque in Joplin, Mo., was burned to the ground in August, and there has been a 50 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes since 2010, reports the Southern Poverty law Center.
Fourth, the Islamic fundamentalists in Libya have reinforced the stereotype that "Innocence of Muslims" peddles: that Muslims are violent fanatics. They have played into the hands of the far right here.
When we focus on the far right in Libya or Egypt, we erase the almost 2 billion Muslims in the world, the vast majority of whom are nonviolent and who voice their positions peacefully.
In Cairo earlier this week, peaceful protests were held outside the U.S. Embassy; the most confrontational thing a section of protesters did was to replace the American flag with an Islamist flag. No one got hurt. [Friday protests spread to 20 countries.]
Let's also remember the controversy over the Danish cartoons, when the newspaper Jyllands-Posten ran caricatures of Islam and the Prophet. A range of editorials, essays, and peaceful demonstrations poured forth, but the Western media skipped over these in favor of violent demonstrations by Islamists.