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.