Heathens like me always have trouble getting our heads around religious sensibilities and touchiness. I remarked in a slightly different context yesterday why I was slightly bemused that people were so offended by a crude piece of merchandising mocking them. If I was in their shoes I would just laugh it off. You have to wonder how secure someone is in their views if they are so easily whipped up into a frenzy over something so trivial.
Nonetheless the film in question, a gratuitously and calculatedly offensive, cheapo effort that portrays the prophet Muhammad as a child-molester and womaniser that makes a Danny Dyer geezer-flick look like an exercise in vaultingly ambitious intellectual profundity, has set off violent demonstrations around the Middle East. The chain of events isn’t too dissimilar to the cartoon row back in 2005 (can you believe that was seven years ago?) in the way that it has been manipulated by radical Islamic clerics to suit their agenda.
The makers of the film whose origins are explained in a bit more detail here, must be like dogs with two dicks at the moment. They have been successful beyond their wildest dreams. It has inflamed tensions between the Middle East and the West in exactly the way intended. Samuel Huntingdon’s Clash of Civilisations made flesh. The radical Islamic clerics must be pretty happy too, as it has given them something to work with…………
And this is the point. This whole crisis suits the bigots in both camps. It diverts attention away from the real (and invariably socio-economic) questions of the day, questions that the revolutions that formed the ‘Arab Spring’ were tentatively starting to pose. One thing that we have seen over the last couple of years is that the grip of the Islamists on the population in many countries across the Middle East is fairly weak. The danger of Islamic revolution was a myth that suited them and the dictators that the US propped up to supposedly ‘keep them out’.
In the US Mitt Romney has nauseatingly tried to exploit the issue to attack Obama from the right, which I scarcely thought was possible. An act of cynical desperation by a man flailing around for anything to hit his opponent with, although the consensus is that it has backfired.
Whilst here in the UK Liberal Conspiracy quite reasonably wonder why protestors get angry about a shitty film but not the slaughter of Muslims by President Assad’s regime, and over at Shiraz they have posted a piece about 300 Pakistanis (who were presumably Muslims……..) that died at a shoe and garment factory on 11th September. Would that not have been a better issue for the clerics to get angry about?
I can readily understand why so many in the Islamic world are upset at the baleful influence of the US and the West on their lives and nations. But the reality is that this film is a trifling insignificance.