A Muslim responds to the YouTube movie – on YouTube

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…”

Well-worth watching.

Timothy Garton Ash is director of Free Speech Debate 

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Comments (2)

Automated machine translations are provided by Google Translate. They should give you a rough idea of what the contributor has said, but cannot be relied on to give an accurate, nuanced translation. Please read them with this in mind.

  1. Is not part of the problem here the sheer dogmatism of religion? The practice of a religion is in itself an act of suppression since it relegates other belief in to second place and makes their views less important, somehow less valid, thus all religion has at its core the kernel of non acceptance often masked by the outward display of tolerance. It is the secular nature of our society that provides the basis of free speech.

  2. This gentleman sums it all up perfectly; it is of course a pathetic ploy to rile up a passionate people across the world. This “Sam Bacile” clearly seeks to offend muslims with the core goal of encouraging a backlash.

    As this Sam knows, passion towards a cause can be as dangerous as an offence toward a cause. Here we have an idiotic director with an agenda to stir up hatred within muslims – so that in some twisted way the response of muslims to such an insult then portrays the muslims themselves as being in the wrong. This much is clear.

    This gentleman states it well in beseeching muslims not to respond, not to give the imbecile what he wants, but to rise above the idiocy of one man and remember your religion is individual to you, not what someone else determines it to be.

    I am passionate about my religion too. But one man who makes an offensive film does not justify the death of an innocent fellow American. If one American, or Brit, or muslim does wrong, it does not permit the murder of an innocent other as punishment or payment. I hope that muslims and all other religions continue to take pride in our religions without paying attention to vitriole. Sam Becile stands alone.

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Free Speech Debate is a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony's College in the University of Oxford. www.freespeechdebate.ox.ac.uk

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