Fresh Paint – Kevin Korb

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?


7 thoughts on “Fresh Paint – Kevin Korb

  1. I think the video was a bad idea from the start. Regardless of what religion you’re targeting, mocking a holy figure is going to get some people very angry. When people get very angry, they can do some very violent things. I think it’s impossible to completely monitor every video posted online, especially videos meant to insult others. Some satires are innocent while others cross the line. I think the creator of the video should be penalized in some way despite freedom of speech. By creating a video like that he risks causing a lot of harm to the United States.

  2. After watching the video, I understand why the Muslims would be enraged. It was completely disrespectful. Religion has always been such a controversial issue and whenever its brought up, anger always arises. While I empathize with the Muslims’ perspective, I don’t think violence is ever the answer. It was unnecessary to kill and take innocent lives over a moment’s spur of anger. Whoever Sam Bacile is should definitely be punished.

    America has always allowed freedom of speech, press, etc. so I don’t think monitoring and censoring the videos is a good idea. Like with China, the government censors so much that its people are often oblivious to so much that happens within their country. I believe events like Tiananmen Square massacre are still severely censored. I think it’s hard to implement correct usage of censorship. How much should be removed that it doesn’t limit the the expanse of knowledge of the people?

  3. I agree with Jeff. I believe that people should have their freedom of speech, but they shouldn’t be able to totally undermine other people’s beliefs especially when it is so strong, like religion. Just like it is illegal to shout fire in a crowded area, some things should just not be allowed.

  4. The satirical video insulting Muslims is a great example of how the “freedom of speech” has been misused and inappropriately translated in the internet and the media. I believe the video should definitely be removed for many reasons bigger than the video itself. The issue with today’s media, internet and social networks is it has disturbed the right of “freedom of speech.”

  5. Yeah, one needs to be careful about the ideas that one conveys, because the intended message may be much different than the perceived message. Religion is a touchy subject, and publishing public content about religion is like treading thin ice. Even if the intent of the video was satire and comedy, there are bound to be people who will not regard it as such, as we have clearly seen.

    Then again, the protesters should have acknowledged that they might find a bunch of garbage on youtube, since it is the internet. YouTube has tons and tons of material that includes both high quality enrichment along with trashy nonsense, and I don’t think it was sensible for the protesters to go out and murder some americans just because of something they found on the internet. Even if it was blasphemous, they should know that the internet has lots of trash that shouldn’t be given attention.

  6. I think the video is disrespectful, but I don’t think you can lawfully “penalize” someone for exercising his right to freedom of speech. When angry Islamic anti-American protesters burn American flags, it can be offensive to the average American. But they are not penalized because they have a right to express themselves. The same should hold true for Bacile. Punishing him for expressing himself would be to undermine one of the most foundational principles of our Constitution.

  7. This video is definitely disrespectful and degrading for Muslims and definitely had the purpose of insinuating public unrest from the Muslim community. Freedom of speech should definitely be upheld, but actions such as those from Bacile give us reasons to reconsider such freedoms and rights. There are many different ways to express your beliefs and to convey your messages, and this one just isn’t right. Everyone has their own beliefs and if you don’t believe the same things, then just let them be. By creating such a insulting video, the repercussions were immense and nothing can be taken back.

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