On July 2, filmmaker Sam Bacile posted a satirical video on youtube that not only displayed Muslim prophet Muhammad, but depicted him as an immature, savage, sex-hungry murderer. Two months after it was posted, on the 11th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, violent protests sprung in Eqypt and Libya toward the contents of Bacile’s video. U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens, was killed in Libya along with three additional Americans who were embassy employees.
Rather than the fact that the prophet Muhammad was depicted so poorly, the protesters in Egypt and Libya were enraged simply because the prophet Muhammad was portrayed in the online video. In Muslim religion, any sort of visual representation of sacred figures is strictly prohibited. This characteristic of Muslim religion is widely known so it can be easily assumed that Sam Bacile and the other producers of the video were well aware of it. This certainly does not imply that they knew that there would be such a catastrophic response but they must have obviously known that Muslims would be angered nonetheless.
According to Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey, the four murders left Americans confused, angry, and fearful towards the Muslims’ harsh reaction. But the question is: should Americans be feeling this way? Should they be so surprised that this offended Muslims so immensely? The article questions this by describing how we once had this issue in the history of our country. Colonists at Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay prohibited images of Jesus Christ in their churches and scratched out crosses in their books. Also in the early Republic, artists avoided drawing forms of God and Jesus in their pieces. Painter Washington Allston addressed this when he stated “I think his character is too holy and sacred to be attempted by the pencil.”
Let us not forget how insulting the video was in the representation of Muhammad. If you click on the link below to view the video, you will see how childish and unintelligent Muhammad is portrayed as. The video is satirical but Muhammad is clearly disrespected and insulted.
By no means does this justify the violent protests resulting in the deaths of four innocent Americans, but shouldn’t Americans acknowledge the fact that this video is absolutely inappropriate and insulting towards Muslims? Should there be some way to monitor the content of videos that are being posted on the Internet so that they could be removed if they are clearly made to insult others? Should Sam Bacile and the other producers be punished for what they did despite their freedom of speech?