Anti-Islamic video disgusting, asked for violent response
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 22:09
By now, many have heard of the riots that erupted only two weeks ago in Libya, Egypt and other countries, claiming the lives of a U.S. ambassador and several soldiers. These riots were in response to a YouTube video titled “Innocence of Muslims,” a video which portrays the origin of Islam, its founder and its current activities today as fraudulent, violent and inherently evil. I had heard about this video, and decided to watch it to see what could be so terrible that people would raise up arms in anger at it. After only minutes, I was disgusted by what I saw. Islam sees any depiction of their prophet as a violation of their theological tenants. This alone may have been cause for anger, but adding to that the errant lies, fabrications and gross accusations posed in this video is simply asking for violence. Many people, however, do not realize that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man responsible for the video, is doing just that: asking for violence.
As Americans, our society has been changed since the attack on 9/11. Since then, we have been engaged in constant conflict in Arabic countries, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Libya, and many soldiers have died. It was for this reason, Nakoula stated, that he made the video: to show the world that Islam is an evil, violent religion, and to protect Americans. This uprising against the video, however, was not unplanned. The video was so horrendous, so disgusting in its portrayal of the Muslim’s prophet, that backlash was clearly intended. Unfortunately, this corroborates Nakoula’s view of Islam, and those who share his view use this as evidence. Islam is not, however, an inherently violent religion. There are many verses in the Quran that preach peace and love, rather than aggression. In fact, out of the entire holy book of Muslims, more than 6,000 verses in total, there are incredibly few that deal with violence. These, however, are what many opponents of Islam, as well as militant Muslims, focus on.
One of the primary terms that has caused undue distress and controversy is that of jihad. This word, in the English vernacular, has come to mean “holy war.” In fact, it is meant to be quite the opposite. Jihad actually means “struggle,” and in Islam, there are two jihads, lesser and greater. The lesser of the two is defending yourself or your religion physically, but the greater of the two is the struggle of day-to-day life against sin and temptation. It is the challenge to not only be a good Muslim, but be a good human being. The lesser jihad, which is usually related to the Verses of the Sword, is also not meant the way it is used now. Several verses say that when you are attacked, you must attack back, and this is all we hear from revolts and terrorists. What we are not told by those citing these doctrines, however, is that nearly every verse also says that you should show mercy and that you should be compassionate to your enemies as long as they are not attacking you.
By recognizing that there are those who use Islam to cover up their own agendas, whether it be an attack on America or an attack on Islam, we can clearly see that they are the only ones benefitting. Extremist groups on both sides use violent rhetoric to show people who the enemy is, when in fact it is them: groups like the Taliban, Al Qaida and even Nakoula. While a video is certainly not the equivalent of mass attacks and bombings, it is the mentality that is the true weapon of Nakoula and men like him. If we listen to either side, the people of both Islamic nations and America will suffer. If we are to continue on and avoid catastrophe, we must achieve a mutual understanding and refuse to let the mentalities of madmen guide or intimidate us.