“Innocence of Muslims” Video Suggests a Fetish for Armageddon

Actor portraying Mohammed in “Innocence of Muslims”

I finally sat down and watched the entire 11-plus minute video, “Innocence of Muslims,” which is at the heart of the recent outrage in Islamic countries in Yemen and north Africa.  Suffice it to say that I lost a healthy share of brain cells in the process. The narrative – if you can call it that – is incoherent throughout, the sound is barely audible in places and the overall production values make the Annoying Orange series look like Scorsese.

That said, there’s plenty to  anger Muslims in this clip, or anyone who values religious tolerance, plural coexistence, or even basic respect for human nature.

YouTube Preview Image

The video, brainchild of self-identified real estate developer Sam Bacile, portrays the Prophet Mohammed as, among other things:

  • A child molester
  • A sexually liberal polygamist, adulterer and homosexual
  • An extortionist
  • A murderer
  • An overall doofus who talks to donkeys for advice

In fairness to the cast and crew of the film, they collectively feel that the aim of the project was grossly misrepresented to them, and that much of the strange sound editing was done post-production to manipulate the message. They released the following statement to CNN:

The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer. We are 100% not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose. We are shocked by the drastic re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred.

Though notorious anti-Muslim pastor Terry Jones (remember the Koran-burning kerfuffle?) does not appear to be directly involved in the

Terry Jones

creation of the film, he is a vocal supporter and promoter of it, and has been called a “consultant” to the film by some news outlets. This, combined with the fact that Bacile himself identifies as a “Israeli Jew,” (though he lives in the U.S.) gives me more than a moment of pause to wonder what in the world these two yahoos hoped to achieve in putting such tripe out into the public sphere.

Did they expect the US Embassies in Lybia, Egypt and Yemen to be stormed, and for Americans to be killed? Probably not, though if they considered the implications of their actions beyond the end of their own noses, they would have realized that a violent response was possible, given previous reactions to denigrating treatments of Mohammed in the media (Such as the cartoon fiasco). There may have been some hope that the reaction would be violent, assuming that such blowback might reinforce negative stereotypes of Muslims and monolithically angry and aggressive people.

But I have a sense that there is a bigger agenda beneath the project.

There are those in the Judeo-Christian tradition who not only expect the end of days to come soon; they hope to be agents in making it happen in our lifetime. Part of what some think has kept Armageddon at bay thus far is the relative stability of Israel, the site of so much conflict and religious infighting over the centuries. There are those who believe that the dissolution of such a tentative peace as the area now “enjoys” is the lynchpin that can start the apocalyptic ball rolling.

It’s staggering how eager some are to get their hands on that pin.

Sam Bacile

One thing that is fairly critical to preventing all-out war in Jerusalem and surrounding territories is the treaty between Egypt and Israel, brokered heavily by the Unites States. In short, the U.S. government provides extravagant amounts of aid to the Egyptian government in exchange for them not striking out against the Jewish state. But despite the relative silence of the Egyptian government on a daily basis, there is a deep current of resentment toward the Jewish people in Egypt for their very presence in the region. It’s not unlike a powder keg on which the Egyptian government sits, trying to keep anyone with matches far enough away to avoid catastrophe.

So what to do if you happen to be one of these who seeks to undermine such a fragile peace? You find ways to light the fuse. It seems to me that this is the ultimate goal of the “Innocence of Muslims” film.

These lunatics actually want to see a holy war tear the region apart.

In doing so, they believe God will rain fire down on the unrighteous, send His four horsemen down from the heavens and establish a new order on earth, in which the Judeo-Christian people (or for some, only Christians, depending on who you ask) will lord over all others.

God’s kingdom come? God’s will be done?

So what do we do about such insidious forces in our midst? Some howl for the limitation of free speech, but this won’t change anything in a digitally networked global climate. All it will do is serve to suppress those voices who seek to use legal means for communication. Do we clamp down, striking out against such evil to prevent it from spreading? As Walter Wink says, we become that which we hate by acting in kind to stop it. Wink also says that, in doing nothing, we are complicit in the violence that follows.

So what now?

First of all, if you are a person of faith, pray. Pray for the makers of the film, for the Muslims in Libya and Egypt who have reacted in anger, and for the people of Israel who wake up every day, resented or reviled by so many of their neighbors. Pray for the words to speak to those who ask “why?” and for the courage to stand against such forces of aggression, malice and violence in everything we do and say as followers of Christ.

Be honest about your own biases, be they toward evangelical Christians, Muslims, Jews or whomever. Talk openly of your fears, your hopes and your ignorance. Seek the antidotes to such deficits through direct, personal relationship, through often awkward, sometimes vulnerable acts of humility and compassion for those who least expect it. Respond to anger with love, aggression with compassion and avarice with patient hopefulness.

We are co-creators of God’s kingdom, here on earth, but this isn’t what it is to look like. God’s kingdom doesn’t come in on a swath of fire, wielding fearsome swords, but rather as a still, small voice, moving persistently throughout creation, seeking purchase to germinate small seeds of reconciliation, healing and peace.

We may not even witness the full fruits of such seeds, but we’re called to plant them, nonetheless, despite the efforts of some to pull the yield from the earth by the roots. Keep planting, keep praying, and keep believing something better is possible.

About Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. He co-created and co-edits the “WTF: Where’s the Faith?” young adult series with Chalice Press, and he has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.

  • lynriv

    Christian, it is not only some in the “Judeo-Christian tradition” who hope to be agents in an Armageddon. Do some research about the beliefs of Iran’s President Ahmadinejad and his ideas about the 12th or “hidden” Imam and his apocalyptic beliefs. A nuclear bomb in his hands would be one way to bring about an Armageddon to destroy the U.S. and Israel. But your advice is good for all of us. Pray.

    • Gerald Collins

      The whole world is against the righteous sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. the seven sons of Abraham were rejected from the beginning and they will alwasys be a rebel as their father the devil. God has hated them from the foundation of the earth. They will never know peace for it is not in them nor can they ever have peace for all that awaits them is the wrath God and death.
      Jerry Collins

      • Tony

        ‘God has hated them from the foundation of the earth’.
        Sorry if I’m missing something here, but they didn’t exist at the foundation of the earth. Whatever that was.

  • elizabeth

    actually, these “protests” were planned for september 11th b/c of it’s significance to the US. that movie, although i have a feeling it was rather lame, came out in JULY. if it bugged them so much, why didn’t they speak out then? also, WE are not responsible for THEIR actions. THEY are. quit blaming people here for their actions.

  • Charles

    Christian, this is the best blog entry I’ve seen from you. I love the spirit behind your words. Your advice is truly Christian and admirable. I think one concrete action many of us can take would be to reach out to the Muslim people in our communities with friendship.

  • Charles

    Also, on researching this online, I find that the producer of the film lied about its intent to the actors, and rewrote the script and dubbed over their voices, as he could not have found actors to make such a trashy, mean spirited “documentary”. Link to article about the actors is here
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_763635&feature=iv&src_vid=YcwJqVGreAg&v=2pZqE9JB4fY Link to the movie is here
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_763635&feature=iv&src_vid=YcwJqVGreAg&v=2pZqE9JB4fY If you read this article and watch the video, its clear this was a hate inspired project designed to inflame the Muslim community.

  • Charles

    Sorry, the story of the actors response to the movie is at this link
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/12/world/anti-islam-film/index.html

  • Tony

    I do wonder, though, how many of the people involved in the protests have actually seen the movie themselves, and how many have simply been inflamed by hearsay. The same happened with Christians with ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’; loads complained but few actually saw the movie before complaining.

    Plus it’s about time people grew up and realised it’s only words/movies/fantasy. They doubtless believe that their Prophet was/is innocent of all this; what difference does it make what others think? Their reaction is infantile in my opinion. So, you’ve been insulted? Get over it and move on!

    • SamHamilton

      Good points Tony. I highly doubt more than a small handful have actually watched the video clip. They’re not really rioting over being offended, but because the hate that existed in their hearts was inflamed by people trying to take advantage of some youtube video to stoke violence.

  • Kay 1

    Kay Ajibola

  • Kay 1

    Peace be with him whenever his name is mentioned. For anyone to sit down and produce any motion pictures showing prophet Mohammed alone is condidered unholy becasue you can hardly find any film where Mohammed is represented by any figure. Now imagine a film representing Mohammed as being immoral it will automatically generate alot of problem.
    For Muslims, it is a sin to talk about , write of,or depict any of the Gods Prophet in an unholy way and seeing their prophet being misrepresented might not be taken lightly.
    However, having said all these, reactions to the film should not be usd as license for Murder, Violence or destruction of lives and property. This movie just gave opportunity for extremist to cause mayhem in the Volatile areas.

    People should be careful of what they write, say or do to other peoples faith likewise reactions in extreme provocative sitiuations should be moderate, non -violent and genuine with the sole purpose of correction and not destruction.

    I sympathize with the US citizens and other people who have lost their lives in the last few days.

    • Tony

      Thanks for that balanced reply, Kay. Wish there were more people like you in the world :)

    • Gerald Collins

      All of the middle east are rejected gentiles that are hated by God from the foundation of the earth. Their False religion is nether here not there for all the have to do is await the wrath of God from the beginning. They will never be converted from being the wild goats that they are. Jesus came only for the Hebrews of the house of Israel that had been lost becasue of the divorce in Jer 3. Jesus did not die for the sins of the whole world he came only for HIS people that had been scattered among the hated rejected gentiles of this world including those in the middle East.
      Jerry Collins

  • SamHamilton

    Well said Christian.

  • Gerald Collins

    First of all let me put the middle East in biblcal context, Abraham was the father of many gentiles (See Genesis 17 in the Hebrew text). Seven of the eigth sons of Abraham were rejected and will always be rejected. They are Canaanites that were rejected from the beginning. The sons of the Canaanites have always perscuted the one son of righteousness. Their cry is has always been, “I will kill him”. They are of their father the devil and they do the wil of the first rebell who was cast out of Heaven. Nothings has changed they will aways be rejected gentiles from the foundation of the earth. Their end is death and destruction. Jesus never died for the gentiles. only the Hebrews of the house of Israel.
    Jerry Collins

    • Tony

      Just realised – I shouldn’t have justified that posting above with an answer. I won’t make that mistake on this one

    • Andrew Fleming

      I will be praying for you – you have so much hatred in you….


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