Terry Jones and the mysterious film-maker: When will the US deem him a threat to national security?
The ugly face that angered millions of Muslims, Pastor Terry Jones, today emerged as one of the faces behind the latest offensive movie. Not really a surprise given his previous Quran-burning stunts but a step up the publicity scale for him nonetheless.
It started yesterday following the news that the nice-guy, Chris Stevens, US Ambassador to Libya and former Peace Corps member had died. The investigation into the man behind the film that had offended so many Muslims was in the offing, and many across the Arab sprung world and beyond wanted answers.
Reactions to the film fell back into the time-honoured patterns: the burning of US flags, talk of fatwas and, this time, murder. US embassies came under attack just because the film was said to be distributed by US companies. Later it emerged that the filmmaker himself hailed from California. Frustrated, impotent but explosive reactions saw a decent peace-loving man dead.
“The movie that insulted Mohamed”
The Innocence of Islam trailer--which was uploaded to YouTube--caused 14 minutes worth of offense to Muslims and left others shaken by the tasteless nonsense they were giving their tea breaks to. Unlike Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, this was no high-brow novel by a former believer with a nuanced view of life. It was B-list, dubbed, drivel.
In the small number of frames which were available on the internet, the character of the Prophet Mohammed comes across as a child-molesting murderer, who encourages his followers to follow his example. It is a biography few Muslims recognize. The movie shows “Umar bin al-Khattab” to be a fancier of young boys, and “Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq” to have one eye -the only purpose served being cartoonish and crass nastiness. Leaving aside the Islamphobia, the film also corrupted the story of the Prophet Mohammed’s friendship with an old Arab Christian priest. The film portrays that theologian--Waraqa Ben Nawfal--to have concoted the Quran as a kind of evil ploy against Mohammed.
Unlike the previous Islam/West scandals with Scandinavian caricaturists and Geert Wilders in Holland, this was not the work of a militant secularist. Instead, the motifs used throughout the film, which any English reader will know from Gibbon, reveal overtly Christian overtones. Terry Jones, a fundamentalist Protestant preacher from the US who had suggested burning the Quran--for, well, no apparent reason--a few years back was quickly shown to be one of the backers of ‘Innocence’. Perhaps more poignant and dangerous for Arab community relations was the involvement of Coptic Egyptian emigre Morris (or Maurice) Sadek. It is not clear whether or not Sadek provided the horribly dubbed voice-overs in semi-comprehensible Egyptian Arabic. With tensions between Muslims and their neighbouring communities--Pakistan/India, Myanmar, the Philippines and East Asia--high anyway, and with the unruly nature of the Arab Spring in full blow, it was only going to be a matter of time before somebody was hurt. It didn’t help that the filmmaker was identified--by the US public broadcaster NPR--to be not only Jewish, but Israeli.
So it came to be a perfect storm for the devoutly conspiracy-minded in North Africa: the Copts, the Jews/Israelis and America (in the guise of Hollywood movie financing) were all lined up against them. This at the time when the Arabs were finally free of their dictators. It was a tinder box, and Terry Jones, Maurice Sadek and whoever the hell Sam Becile (Imbecile?) is, or is not, just lit the match.
Have your say: What do you think of the likes of people who share the past-time of “Offending Muslims all over the planet”? Should they be stopped? Deemed a security threat to the US perhaps?