Muslims at Cal State Long Beach Upset By “Innocence of Muslims”
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 02:09
Riots broke out around the world last week in response to a 14-minute trailer on YouTube of a movie called “Innocence of Muslims,” which depicts the Muslim prophet, Muhammad, as a homosexual, pedophile and womanizer.
Several Cal State Long Beach students agreed that the movie, which according to The New York Times was allegedly produced by American-Egyptian Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley, was offensive to Muslims.
Corina Guevara, a junior engineering major, said that the movie should not have been made to begin with but that it also doesn’t justify the violent reaction.
“I think [Muslims] should be upset by the movie, but violence is not the right response,” Guevara said. “I think they should have made a video to highlight the good things about Islam instead.”
Ahmed Shabaik, the CSULB Muslim Students Association president, said that if Muslims want to counteract the attacks made on their religion they need to think rationally and be levelheaded.
“The very purpose [protestors] set out to do was to protect the religion,” Shabaik said.
He said that by becoming violent “all they did was make it worse.”
Shabaik said it was unfortunate that the actions of the protestors who chose to resort to violence in Egypt, Libya and other parts of the world overshadowed the Muslims who protested peacefully or chose to ignore the movie.
“It is unfortunate that wherever you go there is always going to be a small percentage of people who react irrationally, and it’s sad too because the media will focus on that,” he said. “But if you talk to all the other people who weren’t involved in the protest and listen to what they have to say, you’ll see there is a completely different side too.”
Sophia Pandya, a religious studies professor at CSULB who teaches a class on Islam, said she did not understand why the movie has received such a great amount of publicity.
“Clearly, the person who made this film was intending to incite hatred and violence,” Pandya said. “I feel like it was a really sensationalist and tawdry thing to do. Just unnecessary.”
Pandya also said another reason Muslims are angry could be because such films are tolerated and receive the protection of freedom of speech.
“I think it’s good that in the U.S. we have a very broad interpretation of freedom of speech [but] we should be careful with that,” she said.