Following the recent attacks on U.S. diplomatic compounds in Libya and Egypt, I have witnessed a myriad of retorts from both Muslim and non-Muslim participants. Undoubtedly, the violence was triggered from the American made anti-Islamic film, “Innocence of Muslims.”
Of course, coverage of the events on news stations such as CNN and FOX are paired with the quintessential shots where Muslim people are burning and/or trampling on American flags while screaming “Allahu Akhbar.”
Let us delineate sensationalism from truth. The fact of the matter is, Sam Bacile’s Islamic parody film was highly offensive to all Muslims. However, not everyone in the Islamic community desires to react violently. Like always, let us recognize that the minority of radicals within any religion does not define the attitude or beliefs of the religious community as a whole.
Let it also be known that not all Arabs are Muslim, and not all Muslims are Arab. Meaning, there are a good number of Muslim Americans, even within the Fort Collins community, who are patriotic and respectable citizens and deserve to be treated as such.
As American citizens we are entitled to our constitutional rights, one of which being the First Amendment — freedom of speech. Just as well, we have responsibilities not only as citizens of the United States but as global citizens.
Our actions and reactions as a country are digested globally. When a decision is made to spew poisonous speech, we can expect a foul response.
With our constitutional rights, a level of wisdom and common decency must follow. It can be argued that the “Innocence of Muslims,” is constitutionally protected. As an American and global citizen however, Bacile has failed us all.
His film deeply offended millions of people, incited terrorist activity on U.S. embassies, wreaked havoc on unstable governments through violent protests, beleaguered tensions between the United States and the Middle East, not to mention proliferated false stereotypes of both American and Muslim people.
His film has produced nothing but evil, and this is why I would categorize Sam Bacile as a failure.
I can speak for myself as an American, a Christian, and a friend to many Muslim people and say that I do not support the slanderous and hate-filled film mocking the prophet Muhammad.
I understand the recent response to the film which resulted in terrorist activity, ferocious protests and a deepened anti-American sentiment in the Middle East does not reflect the opinion of the Islamic community as a whole.
Along the same vein, let it be known that there are Americans who sympathize with the offense taken from the film, and understand the terrorist activity in Libya and Egypt against the U.S. does not reflect the whole of the Islamic mindset.
Whether you’re Arab, Christian, Muslim, American, Jewish or any other group affected by the recent violence I want to urge you to think critically about your response and recognize that you have the authority to react courageously by rising above the hate.
Editorial Assistant Brooke Lake is a senior international studies major. Her column appears every other Tuesday in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.