By Khadeem Hughson
An Israeli real estate agent residing in California has a $100,000 cash bounty put on his head by Pakistani minister for a controversial documentary called “The Innocence of Muslims” which mocks the Prophet Muhammad.
Young men with torn shirts and blood stained jeans congregated in the middle of a dimly lit street with smoke veiling their faces near Tahrir Square in Egypt. As riot police approach, armed with handguns, tear gas, jet black knight sticks, and large plexiglass see through shields rioters run out of a broken window to a store front. One of them is carrying an Egyptian flag, the other running with a half burnt poster board that reads “Respect our Prophet.”
This is just the latest in a trend of violent responses associated with the controversial film that has been receiving attention from the international community and Lincoln’s campus alike.
“Its (violence) the wrong way to go about protecting the Prophet’s name, I don’t think Muslims or anybody should kill over a disparaging movie,” says Muslim student Tais Hammond, senior communications major and Philadelphia native.
Hammond goes on to insist, “The movie is very offensive. He misrepresented Muhammad; he was the opposite of what they portrayed him to be. He (Bascile) doesn’t have that right.”
The project which depicts the Prophet Muhammad murdering, child molesting, performing sexual acts and compromising beliefs, first started to gain momentum around the time the U.S. embassies in Cairo and Libya were violently attacked.
The consulate in Cairo was stormed by mobs followed by another attack by militia and protestors, then an assault on the U.S. embassy in Libya on September 11. That attack left Christopher Stevens, 52, the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans dead.
A popular rumor, stemming from an anonymous tip the Associated Press received, suggests the attacks were supposed to mark the anniversary of 9/11. However, prevailing wisdom in international circles is that the attacks were really backlash to the film that offended Muslims.
Over in Kabul, the largest city in Afghanistan, fourteen people, 10 of which were American, died in a suicide bombing on September 18, allegedly incited by the parodying of Islam’s prophet.
Four days ago (September 21) the anger reached its climax when crowds, upset about the amateur movie, rioted leaving 23 dead and over 100 people injured in the worst demonstration related to the “Innocence of Muslims” controversy.
Lincoln University Audio and Visual Production Technician, Josh Hankens disagrees with the outcome of the demonstration.
“Violence is bad no matter what, whether it’s in retaliation or not. Even if it’s in response to 9/11 attacks or an offensive film, there’s other ways to handle things,” he said.
Creator of the documentary Sam Bascile worsened matters a week earlier when he revealed, Israel funders who have not yet been identified, donated 5 million dollars to produce his movie.
This offended Iranian officials and helped reignite an ongoing feud between the rival countries that has many under the impression that an Iranian attack on Israel is imminent.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a recent media tour of America that featured an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan and Q&A with reporters at the U.N general assembly meeting, said Israel has instigated conflict and Iran is prepared to see things through, implicating military action.
Victor Laporte, Lincoln University mass communications senior said, “I just think in retrospect it wasn’t a smart move to make such a controversial documentary and the violence was bound to happen. It’s unfortunate Americans had to die. The biggest matter now is the country of Israel’s conflict with Iran.”