ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Loss of Innocence

What can explain the sudden eruption of mass anger among Muslim communities?

The past few weeks have seen unprecedented mass protests all over the world by Muslims against a film which was made in the United States (US) by relatively unknown people and has not yet been released. Uploaded in parts on the social media website, YouTube, the film, The Innocence of Muslims, seems to be a crude attempt at hurting the religious beliefs of Muslims by abusing their prophet, Mohammad, and their religion, Islam. It is clear that it has been produced with the mala fide intent of spreading hate against Muslims and their lifestyles. It indicates the deepening of the cultures of prejudice and intolerance which have been mainstreamed in the west, particularly in the US, in the wake of the anti-Muslim discourse emerging out of the so-called “War on Terror”. It is disingenuous on the part of a government, which has tried to stop and destroy WikiLeaks with every legal and illegal method possible, to now claim that it cannot stop the distribution of such a film or take any legal ­action against its producers as it would contravene “freedom of expression”.

What, however, is surprising is the manner in which this film has become the cause for such widespread outpouring of angst and anger by Muslims in so many different parts of the world. Anyone familiar with YouTube and other social media sites would know that fanatics and lunatics posting innumerable things of all kinds is a widespread phenomenon. This film is surely not the only anti-Muslim or anti-­Islamic rant on YouTube. So what made this particular film such a target for worldwide anger? This is a difficult question to answer but it does point to the possibility of an interplay between mala fide intentions and deliberate design on one side and the viral effects of present-day telecommunications, on the other. Further, the killing of the US ambassador to Libya when the country’s consulate in Benghazi was attacked by protesters put The Innocence of Muslims and the protests against it on the front page of newspapers all over the world and helped spread information about the film and fuel the protests.

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