A provocative and inflammatory film insulting the prophet of Islam [PBUH] has infuriated Muslims all over the globe from Africa all the way to Far east.
Angry protesters in the Muslim World have torched the US flags and urged their governments to expel the US ambassador in response to the blasphemous movie.
People in Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Yemen, Bangladesh, and so many other nations have denounced the movie.
Protesters have attacked US embassies in Libya, Egypt and Sudan. The US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday as a result of the outrage the movie has sparked.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Mohammad Saeed Bahmanpour with the Islamic Center for England to shed more light on the topic.
He is joined by Randy Short with the Dignity , Human Rights and Peace from Washington and the Middle East Consultant Peter Eyre from London.
What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Mr. Bahmanpour give us your thoughts on what has occurred and it is interesting when we try to separate the reason behind it which is this anti-Islam movie, we are almost seeing that it is not so much about the movie but the anger that is vented towards the United States which is accompanied by Israel in may cases.
Bahmanpour: Well, let me say this that before seeing this film, of course clips of this film, I really thought that Muslims are showing an overreaction to what has happened; but after seeing clips of this film I was so much angered that I thought that Muslims are justified in what they are doing.
Of course attacking diplomatic places, diplomatic embassies is not something that we have to support and condole, however the provocation that this film has created among the Muslims, I think that it is justified for what they are doing, their feelings are extremely hurt by this film.
I have read Salma Rushdi’s book, I have seen other productions which try to somehow provoke the Muslims and somehow insult their feelings; however none of those have gone this far and I think that the stated intention of this film as the producer has mentioned is that the stated intention was to provoke Muslims, to provoke hatred and this is something that the Western governments especially the United States, they have to address; I mean freedom of expression cannot justify such acts.
Look! In different other cases like for example in the case of Holocaust which has the feelings of some people, a few people in the world, they legislated laws, they restricted the freedom expression because they do not want this to happen to hurt the feelings of a few million people. Here one and half a billion people are hurt and I do not think that any politician, any intellectual in the West would be justified coming out and saying that we cannot do anything about it because it is freedom of expression.
If they want this crisis to be managed and to be solved and I am sure that they are now, they are having teams trying to solve this crisis and to manage the crisis, Obama is trying to manage the crisis, others are trying to do that.
If they want to manage this crisis they have to make an example of this person, they have to address this issue of freedom of expression of insult against Muslims and I think the anger is vented against the United States and against the West generally, because they are actually supporting this in the name of freedom of expression.
This is not acceptable I guess.
Press TV: Mr. Bahmanpour, you know, the United States in particular along with their allies, but in particular the United States, they have had practice in terms of trying to understand Muslims or Islam as a religion when they waged a war in Iraq, when they went to Afghanistan, you know the big slogan there was ‘Hearts and Minds’ and of course, given this history, plenty of strategists and advisors to enlighten them about what Islam is, how Muslims view their faith and how sensitive they are.
Yet time and again we are seeing this happening and it emanates in many cases from the United States. On one side of the question why is it that they are not understanding the faith and its importance and how sensitive Muslims are and on the second hand: is there the deduction that is made that there is actual efforts to demonize Islam and create this Islamophobia when we see these types of incidents happening such as this anti-Islam movie.
Bahmanpour: Well, first of all I doubt if there is a serious will there to understand Muslims and to understand Islam.
Even if they want to do it they go wrong way, I mean just the example of the film of Channel Four a couple of weeks ago about the ‘untold story’ when they want to tell the story of Islam, they go to people who are actually hostile in their nature against Islam and they just hypothesize widely about the origin of Islam, the history of Islam without having much data and information and much knowledge about that history.
They just get different bits and pieces from here and there and then widely theorize, like for example, theorizing that, Well, did this Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) live at all? Did he exist at all? We have to investigate that.
I mean all these are based on shortage of knowledge and lack of information. So even if they want to have this understanding, they go the wrong way.
Secondly, as I said, I really doubt if they want to do it and even if they want to do it there are hands there which would not allow it [to happen].
Just look what the media is doing in America and in the West! How are they attacking Islam from every side and every direction!
Sometimes I feel these poor soldiers, young boys who go to Iraq and Afghanistan from America and other countries and they insult Muslims and they do sacrilege sort of things.
I feel, well, are they really the culprits or the culprit is the media which is instigating their hatred against Muslims? I mean these people go to these areas, deal with these people with sort of a store of information and propaganda against Islam and Muslims which makes them to do certain acts which we have seen frequently in the past. So I do not think that there is such an intention [to really understand Islam].
About this movie, I still wonder what has been the agenda behind it? Was it just to provoke Muslims and to destabilize the Middle East? Or it was just a fanciful sort of crazy act of one person collecting money to make something which was, well of course, quite crazy.
I do not think that anyone in the world, any reasonable person would condole and would support such an act, even if they have the most anti-Islamic attitude.
So I wonder what has been the agenda behind this? there may be a conspiracy to actually …, because there is this talk in the West nowadays that ‘you want to understand Muslims.’
There may have been a conspiracy to deter and to hold this process; there are some vested interests that -they-- do not want the Muslims and the West [to] live in peace, they want this battle to go on. And who wants this? Well, the first place that we can point to, is Israel, the Zionists. This is the only thing that you can imagine and the only agenda that you can imagine, which has been behind this film, and of course it is corroborated by some information that we have for example, a hundred Jews has paid for the production of this film and this things come to mind that there are certain vested interests and as I said, the first one that we can point to, is the Zionism which they do not want this sort of understanding go smoothly between the West and Islam.
Press TV: Mr. Bahmanpour you talked about the wedge that perhaps has, as you said, the Zionist hand in it. They do not want the world to come closer in terms Muslims coexisting with other religions.
What should Muslims do to rise above that?
Bahmanpour: Well, I think that Muslims have done their share, have contributed a lot. I think that Muslims have tried to understand the Western culture, they have tried to understand their discourse during the past decades and this is what, I think, is a share that Muslims have put in. Now it is the time and the turn for the West to play their role in this mutual understanding.
But just to finish, I have to say one thing! These riots should not remain as riots. I do not think that Muslims should not stop protesting, they have to continue, they have to take this to a place with one intention in mind, with one aim and that aim should be: the West, Western countries, they have to legislate a law against sacrilege against Muslims’ sanctities, they have to legislate laws as they have legislated laws about speaking against Holocaust, they have to legislate laws about insulting Islam, so that no one else in the future can come out and create such a crisis.
Once and again and once and again and again and again they are doing this. I think the Muslims…, well this is what I hope to happen, Muslims should continue their protests, they have to continue their objection to such things until the West understands that they have to respect this and they have to legislate laws to somehow qualify the freedom of expression.
Source: Press TV