That Disturbing Video

The video produced that has now incited riots and deaths in the Middle East emerges from our belief in the freedom of speech, though hate speech or speech designed to inflame will always be challenged in our context. I have not watched the video but I have been reading some on the issues, and I found this piece by Omid Safi to be insightful.

I was unaware of the murkiness of the persons at work behind the video, including almost certainly some names not connected to real people. I regret Safi made a deal of the producer being Coptic because that just inflames another set of issues. That “Sam Bacile” claimed to be connected to Israel and to American Jews is almost certainly an attempt to poison the Middle East tensions.

AP has a report on the so-called “Sam Bacile” character.

 

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Jeremy

    As things come to light, it sounds like the video didn’t actually incite anything itself. It was the tool used by extremist Agent Provacateurs to incite crowds for very specific purposes. Otherwise, it was forgotten or unnoticed by just about everyone.

    I just regret that once again, Terry Jones’ name is associated with something like this. Does the guy never learn?

  • AndyM

    Anyone else get weary of how readily some muslims are to take offense, and to get violent when offense is taken? christians might boycott, petition or lobby on issues where we believe we have been offended against, but violence isn’t the normal response. you do get isolated individuals (people who murder abortion doctors, or shoot politicians they disagree with), but not widespread riots as appears all too often in muslim dominated areas.

    It’s almost like an abusive spouse who blames the victim for doing something to provoke them when they abuse them. The one being violent is not owning the responsibility for their actions and is blaming it on another.

  • EricW

    I watched the 13:51 “trailer” on YouTube before it was taken down; however, it appears to have been broken up into several 1-2-minute clips (search for “innocence of muslims”), so you can probably still watch it all. Horrible acting, horrible green screen effects, horrible dialogue – like the worst church play you’ve ever seen. And it appears from news reports that some of the actors’ lines were later overdubbed with the anti-Muhammed dialogue; they thought they were making a simple desert film about life 2,000 years ago and never said anything about Muhammed.

    Having said all that… While libel and slander, if proven, can be a crime, it is not a crime in this country to make a film or put on a play or write a book that depicts or denigrates or ridicules Islam and/or Muhammed (or any other religion or religious figure or religious group), or that could inspire or offend people, or that could incite people to action, whether good or bad. Even blasphemy is no longer punishable.

    Not yet, at least.

    And some of the remarks from our Great Leaders – e.g., the current Secretary of State – in response to the film and the deliberately-stirred-up-by-provocateurs riots – have been just as stupid, if not more so, than the film itself.

    Fundamentalist Islam and democracy or modern society or human rights are as incompatible as cobra venom and humans.

  • AndyM

    anyone else reminded of the protocols of the elders of zion? send out something inflammatory supposedly showing one group what it already presupposes about another.
    in the instance of antisemitic europe (and most damagingly nazi germany), it was purportedly a jewish plot which showed europeans that their suspicions about jews were right in there being an evil jewish conspiracy.
    in this case, the video cements the view that the muslim world has that the west disrespects it, and doesn’t even bother to use high levels of production skill in abusing them.

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Thinking more generally, it may help to dissociate the violent reaction of the mob from the offence to Islam. An appeal to history may clarify my meaning here.

    If a similar drama about Jesus had been staged in mediaeval Europe it is quite likely the crowd reaction would have mirrored what we have seen in Libya, Egypt and Yemen. Riots, murders and burnings were commonplace in Europe at that time and were easily sparked by religious sensitivities as well as by political, economic, racial and other matters. There were even riots when the calendar was changed from Julian to Gregorian because people thought days were being lost from their lifespans.

    The interesting thing (and I’ll leave it open) is what has changed in Western society since those times. Has, in fact, anything changed? If so, can we identify it? And will similar changes take place in the Islamic world? Indeed, has this already happened in some cases? If so, in which countries?

    I would suggest the fundamental issues are not religious or faith-centred, but social and cultural. What is the best way forward?


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