While a Pakistani minister offers a $100,000 reward for the murder of the man who made the notorious Innocence of Muslims video, a British Muslim responds in exemplary fashion to “this imbecile named Sam Bacile”. Timothy Garton Ash commends his clip.
A Muslim reacts to that idiotic Innocence of Muslims movie.
Following the classic principle that the best answer to bad speech is more and better speech, Syed Mahmood uses YouTube to respond to an idiocy on YouTube. Note that he has over 450,000 views, which is more than double those of the original version of Innocence of Muslims posted on 1 July 2012 – although less than the now 16 million who have watched the reposted version.
Syed Mahmood’s is a very balanced and, I would say, British reaction, from someone who clearly identifies himself as a devout Muslim. He argues that by reacting violently, Muslims in the Middle East will be doing exactly what the film-maker wanted them to do: “You are going to make him successful, you are going to make him happy actually.” He insists that people are entitled to be upset, to protest, but not to be violent. He also has a quite nice joke – or was it a genuine slip of the tongue? – when he says “so this guy named imbecile, sorry, this imbecile named Sam Bacile.”
In what seems a spontaneous but thoughtful way, he makes a really interesting point about whether or not people should fall into the role of the Offended Muslim (to borrow a phrase from Kamila Shamsie) saying “this movie is intended to hurt your feelings, so don’t let it succeed…”
Timothy Garton Ash is director of Free Speech Debate