Anti-Islamic incendiary video sets world ablaze with controversy
Students give mixed reactions on subject of anti-Islamic video
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 01:09
Everyone from world leaders to armchair pundits are weighing in on the anti-Islam film that sparked outrage in the Middle East and North Africa. The film not only affects Muslims in those countries, but the foreign policy of the United States.
A Youtube user with the pseudonym Sam Bacile uploaded a controversial 14-minute video in early July titled “Innocence of Muslims,” which negatively depicts the creation of Islam and the life of Muhammad, Islam’s main prophet.
In response to this video, a group of extremists in Benghazi, Libya attacked the U.S. Consulate on Sept. 11, killing four Americans including Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya.
Sam Houston State University students have differing opinions on the controversy.
Zach Giddens, a criminal justice major, recalls his initial thoughts on the intent and creation of the video.
“Whenever I first heard about it, I thought that the video never really needed to be produced,” Giddens said. “I definitely think that [the makers of the video are] in the wrong.”
Other students took to the internet to voice their opinions about this issue.
One Redditor, Naufrago92, thinks the outrage could be the cause of the media.
“... It is ridiculous to believe that all the outrage is completely because of this video,” he said. “I’m slightly sure that there are more offensive videos circling the Internet about Muhammad, why this one is getting so much attention is probably because many (mainly the mainstream media) keep feeding it attention.”
Jason Enia, Ph.D., a political science professor at SHSU, said the violence and riots that have erupted around the world in response to the video could be due to different causes.
“One possibility is that this is short term violence in reaction to the video, and we might call that demonstrative violence (or violence related directly to the video),” Enia said.
He also cited research that shows that demonstrative violence isn’t organized.
“It’s almost better to kind of leave it alone,” Enia said.
Enia said another possibility behind the violence is that the attack was a triggering mechanism for more violence to come.
Giddens agrees with Enia, saying the retaliation to the video was a bit too much.
“I agree with [the embassy attackers] being upset, but they went overboard,” Giddens said. “At the same time, I do believe that there’s not much that we can do that’s not going to infringe on people’s right.”
The recent attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya sparked protests near other U.S. embassies around the world, even in countries allied with the U.S.
“Clearly there’s a lot of pent up frustration for a variety of reasons,” Enia said. “I think that you always hit a certain point where you have a trigger regardless of what kind of violence this is. Then at another certain point, it might morph into something that had nothing to do with [the video].”
Ten U.S. embassies in parts of southern Europe and most of the Middle East have been attacked since Sept. 11. Most of the attacks include rioting, arson, and armed assault. Of those, two attacks have resulted in fatalities, one being the attack in Benghazi, and the other in Cairo, Egypt, where police shot and killed a protester.
Bacile told The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press that he does not feel responsible for the death of Stevens and blames a failed security system at the embassy.
He claims that “Islam is a cancer,” and that “the movie is a political movie,” instead of a religious one Bacile said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Bacile has since gone into hiding for fear of his life.
The White House requested that the video be taken down on Sept. 14, but YouTube’s owner, Google, rejected the request and only complies with laws that forbid the video in other countries such as Indonesia and India. In Iran, the authoritarian government blocked both YouTube and Google to its citizens in response to the video.
In a recent interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Iranian President Mahmaud Ahmadinejad condemned the film.