Saturday, February 16, 2008

Qur'anic Snuff Film

Iran wants the Netherlands to ban a new Dutch film. The film's creator, who is a member of the Dutch Parliament, "says his film will show the Muslim holy book is an inspiration for murder." Well, so is the Christian Bible. But if this movie was about the Bible, first of all, the Pope would weigh in. Then the many Christians in America would lobby and boycott it. And most people in the US wouldn't take it seriously. But if you make this movie about the Qur'an, then most Americans will go, "oh, so that's why they're so violent over there. That's why they're all terrorists." And no, I'm not exaggerating. I teach at a university. One semester I gave extra credit for students who went to one of several lectures on Islam and wrote a little essay on it. Quite a few of those essays came back with "I had no idea all Muslims weren't terrorists" or "I had no idea Islam is actually a peaceful religion." It was frightening how little is known about Islam in America.


The Old New Englander said...

You're comment about the level of ignorance about Islam rings true. It is far more acceptable to show prejudice against Muslims than against any other ethnic or religious group. And as to your comment on the Bible, well,I won't go there, because I'm not a Christian and I don't want to be accused of being anti-Christian. But a look at the religious wars of the 16th and 17th Centuries (not to mention the Crusades) will back you up; some historians said that it was not until the 20th Century that Germany recovered from the Thirty Years War.

Mainstream groups, in this country and in Europe, need to campaign against the kind of bigotry represented by the film in your post. (Of course, here the First Amendment prevents banning a film because it offends people.) It's unfortunate that it was the Iranian government that protested this film; it's theocratic government does not have a lot of credibility in the west. The minister's comment that "the motivation behind the film was satanic"--at least according to the story you linked--makes one suspect that his objection is not based on a western, liberal view of what peoples' rights should be. In other words, one might suspect that he would not object to a film that showed Islam to be the only true religion and all others false and even satanic. That should be his right, of course, but it lessens the force of his argument.

Ali Gator said...

Yes. I also agree it would have been much better if it hadn't been Iran protesting. It automatically looks bad when they complain. And as I said in a different post: just because you CAN say something doesn't mean you SHOULD say it.