5 points of clarification on protests to anti-Islam trailer

Based upon the lack of thorough analysis that I’ve seen in mainstream media discussing the unrest overseas pertaining to the anti-Islam trailer, I thought that I’d share the following thoughts:     

 The deaths of the U.S. ambassador in Libya and three additional Americans appear not to have been related to protests about the trailer.

It has now been revealed that Ambassador Stevens was on Al-Qaeda’s hit list.  Moreover, intelligence now says that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi appears to have been a well-planned operation, not a spontaneous attack related to protests about the anti-Islam trailer.

The anti-Islam trailer was virtually unknown to Muslims until a Salafist television aired it in a move that seems politically motivated.

The anti-Islam trailer first came on the internet in June 2012, and there was no national or international outrage about it.  On September 8, 2012, the Salafist television station Al-Nas, which is owned by a Saudi media group, aired part of the trailer.  The showing of the trailer then sparked protests in Cairo and Benghazi as a consequence.  The trailer was not shown by Egyptian State television, unlike some media accounts.  The Salafists are political rivals of the Muslim Brotherhood led government, and the Salafists also fashion themselves to be the true upholders and defenders of Islam.

The majority of Muslims still have not gone into the streets to protest the film, and the majority of rallies have been peaceful.

Muslims have protested in the streets against the anti-Islam trailer from Nigeria to Thailand; however, the majority has not taken to the streets.  Even if 100,000 Muslims in several countries have protested, which I believe the number to be less than this, the number would not even be an hundredth of a percent of 1.6 billion Muslims.  Furthermore, the majority of protests such as the 10,000 people who protested last week in Beirut, Lebanon did not cause any injury to human life or damage to property.  The burning of the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Tripoli, Lebanon and property damage to U.S. embassies in Egypt and Yemen are intolerable exceptions, not the rule.

The angry protests at U.S. embassies are about much more than the anti-Islam film.

Though the favorability rating of America is still high in many Muslim majority countries, many Muslims feel that this anti-Islam movie, which was made in the USA, is the preverbial straw that broke the camel’s back in a list of other grievances.  When many Muslims hear America talking about democracy and freedom of speech, they fully know that America has and continues to support dictatorships in Muslims countries that stifled democracy and freedom of speech (i.e. Musharraf in Pakistan & Mubarak in Egypt).  Such support of dictators is viewed by the people as American political hypocrisy (which it is) as well as the continued American exploitation of their countries’ natural resources and/or strategic value.   Hence, we see the protests that have turned the ugliest in countries in which America has supported dictators, which suppressed their own populations.

Christians have not gotten as angry about slights towards Jesus because of the clear absence of the political dynamic which exists in some parts of the Muslim world.

Being that the protests in many parts of the Muslim world are greater than the anti-Islam trailer, it is not analogous to compare the environments that these Muslims live in with the West.  Isolated insults of disrespect towards Jesus cannot be compared to the Islamophobia industry, which promotes anti-Muslim hate on a daily basis, which has even influence politicians such as Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) to make anti-Muslim statements that are aired around the world.  Moreover, no Muslim majority country has propped up dictators, bombed, occupied and sent drones into Christian majority nations.  If America, United Kingdom and France were invaded by a Muslim country, had over a million civilians killed and continued to send drones that kill civilians, perhaps citizens of those countries would view an insult against Jesus coming from that country as but another act of insult and humiliation.  This is exactly how many view the anti-Islam trailer coming from America, even though our government had nothing to do with making the film.

There is much more to be said about this topic and more will be said as events unfold.  One thing is for certain that there is no justification for violence or intimidation against any country’s embassy and diplomatic staff.  Likewise, we need to use our free speech to encourage dialog among civilizations, not to promote mean-spirited, non-intellectual insults that do nothing but breed more misunderstanding and enmity among the family of man.  We cannot persuade or win people over to our point of view with malicious intent to insult and demean.


5 thoughts on “5 points of clarification on protests to anti-Islam trailer

  1. ” One thing is for certain that there is no justification for violence or intimidation against any country’s embassy and diplomatic staff. “—true, but there is no justification for the “west” and the petro-monarchies to use radical salafi/wahabism to promote their own political agendas and proxy wars either. There is also no justification for the U.S. to use drones to attack /terrorize innocent civilians either………Muslims should be wary of having the “conversation/dialogue” hijacked by westerners who only want to blame Islam/Muslims for problems while hiding their own misdeeds.
    …another thing to note—protests have been allowed in muslim-minority countries such as Brazil, India, Thailand etc….which indicates that “anti-americanism” is pretty global.

  2. Asalam alaikum I see you a lot with hassan al-qazwini and I recently read an article where he states he was dismayed to see Islamic extremists take down the U.S. flag at an embassy and replace it with an Al-Qaida flag.
    This is false and very dangerous because that flag is the Islamic state flag and not an al-qaida flag I would like to know your opinion about this particular comment. http://www.freep.com/article/20120915/NEWS05/309150151/Dearborn-imam-Violence-not-what-Islam-preaches

    • As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum,

      I don’t know if Al-Qaeda has a flag, nor do I know of any official flag of the Islamic state legislated by Prophet Muhammad (SAAS).

      And exactly what Islamic state would they be flying a flag for to put on the American embassy? Does this Islamic state exist, and who is the imam/khalifah of this Islamic state? And is it even permissible to ransack the housing or residency of diplomats under the shari’ah?

      I think that you can see where I’m going.


      • “The Prophet (saw) entered Makkah and his flag was white.” Reported By Ibn Majah
        The black or white flags that have Laa Ilaha Illa Allah Muhammad Arrasullullah represent Islam and the Islamic State not al qaida.

        The Islamic state hasn’t existed since 1924 and if there was one today I’m sure the khaleefah would have addressed this situation properly as they did in the past when our Prophet Muhammad SAW was insulted. As for killing or harming a diplomat under the states protection this is not permissible.

        My point is I think it’s irresponsible for someone like hassan al-qazwini who is seen as a representative of the Muslim community to make a false and dangerous comment that would mislead people into thinking that anyone who has the Islamic flag is representing
        al qaida.

      • I don’t remember reading a narration saying that Laa ilaha ill Allah was on those flags, nor is that hadeeth one that contains a command. That’s like saying that since the Prophet (SAAS) was wearing a Black turban and kohl on Fath Makkah that it’s the official dress of Islam. This isn’t legislation under the shari’ah, my brother.

        The ‘Uthmaaniyyah are the ones who introduced the symbol of putting the crescent on flags and the tops of masaajid (which I have a problem with); since, you are going back to 1924. The khilaafah of the ‘Uthmaaniyyah didn’t address many things correctly. I believe in imaamah/khilaafah, but I don’t romanticize what a khaleefah would do or not do. Look at Abu Ja’far Al-Mansur Al-Abbasi beating Imam Malik (RH) and Al-Ma’mun Al-Abbassi imprisoning Ahmad bin Hanbal for instance. And the Abbasiyeen were better than the khilaafah ‘Uthmaaniyyah!

        I agree, however, that a white flag with Laa ilaha illa Allah is not the exclusive property of Al-Qaeda, if they in fact use it too. You have a valid point regarding Sayyid Hassan’s statement.

        Thank you for your comments.

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