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Film about Islam Induces Revolts

Peaceful protests across the Islamic world resulted in carnage at a number of U.S. embassies and consulates over the last week, garnering international outrage and contention.

At least fourteen people have been killed, but hundreds have been injured in the torrent, and many more may have died.

These violent protests were first sparked in Egypt, but the have spread to Libya, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, and other primarily Muslim states. These protests were provoked by a fanatical anti-Islam film that was created in Southern California.

The film is a declaration of Islam as a fraud, with Mohammed denounced as a savage killer, child molester, idiot, and rapist. Islam forbids any portrayal of Mohammed, much less an offensive one.

Clips from the amateur video were posted online, and these radical statements have been viewed by millions. In response, the Muslim world has erupted in rage.

The protests have been particularly turbulent as police and protester brutality has resulted in deaths and injuries on both sides. Most of the efforts by police have been fruitless, and the protests have remained highly anarchic.

The first bout of fighting began as attempts to legitimize the anger towards the controversial film, which is seen as blasphemous. But  protesters rapidly turned to rioting and ferocity when they felt disregarded by Western forces. Insurgent groups have allegedly used the protests as a means to plan elaborate ambushes of U.S. centers.

The protests seem to be the manifestation of deeper ideological clashes between the cultures, and the tension has been long-growing.

The United States has been condemned by many of these nations for the extent of their freedom of expression, regardless of how “wicked,” “hateful,” or “sacrilegious” this expression may be. The anti-American sentiments of these protests have resulted in even more discontent.

The American government has questioned whether these statements are the prerogative of American citizens. Inflammatory speech finely toes the line of legality, as the boundaries of hate speech and threats are often indistinct. If, however, these statements were to be regulated or halted, it would appease the outraged nations but would violate the constitutional rights of each citizen.

The actions of the UN and the US (encouraging diplomacy and increasing security) should quell the outrage even if the outcome is uncertain.

Written by Claire Glass ‘15.


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