“We don’t think that depictions of the prophets are freedom of expression; we think it is an offense against our rights.” ~ Ismail Mohamed, a religious scholar in Egypt, as per NYT
Bullshit – your religious rights end where begins my right to live without a second thought to your religion.
But the linked NYT article has insight into the Middle East’s riotous reaction to ‘that video‘ (The Innocence of Muslims). Apparently, it’s widely believed in the Muslim world that Holocaust denial is illegal in America. In that light, their outrage is understandable (though not the level of violence). They are genuinely confused & angered that an insult to Mohammed stands while the questioning of an historical event does not.
Sound familiar? They’re as ignorant of us as we are of them. In this case, they’re confusing America with Germany.
They’re also confusing their contrived legends with rational human behaviour (although many of us do the same).
An acquaintance holds the opinion that, despite freedom of expression, “there is no wisdom in mindlessly offending people.” That, & “no one is going to be enlightened by this film.” There’s wisdom in both statements, but that doesn’t mean they always apply, or even that they’re always true.
I think that, when there are uptight people who are so insecure in their thoughts & opinions that they must take the heads of anyone who disagrees with them, I would say that there is duty to offend. People need to face their fear of nonconformity & get over their sinfully selfish desires.
I also wouldn’t call the film mindless offence, but mindful offence; the deception of the actors was too deliberate & elaborate to be anything but. Salman Rushdie has his opinion – “outrageous and unpleasant and disgusting” – but that also describes Hostel, which was all of those things, but also fine, emotive storytelling.
Art as a Tool for Enlightenment
Whether art or empty entertainment, there is plenty of work in the world that shocks rather than enlightens. Remember, Uwe Boll has a career.
All I can really say is that some people want to eat baby cows that have never seen the light of day, some want to penetrate willing sphincters, & some want to mock deities & their flocks (*ahem* speaking of ‘mindless’). This is all allowed in a free society.