AMMAN — The killing of US ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and the violent acts against US embassies in several Arab capitals triggered by the provocative film “Innocence of Muslims” did as much harm as the misguided film intended to do to Islam, columnists said on Saturday.
The columnists, who condemned the film as provocative to Muslims, said it sought to sow seeds of sedition between Muslims and the West and between Muslims and Christians across the Arab world.
“There is no doubt that the film is provocative to Muslims, but that should not push anyone to resort to acts that tarnish the image of Islam and its followers and depict them as if they were mobs, as Muslims belong to a religion that calls for being civilised,” Yasser Zaatreh, a writer at Ad Dustour daily, wrote in a column on Saturday.
“Most Muslims condemned the killing of the US ambassador in Benghazi,” said the writer.
Al Rai’s Taher Adwan said it was normal that Arabs and Muslims took to the streets to condemn the movie that insulted Prophet Mohammad, but said the protests should be civilised in a manner that would make Americans “ashamed of themselves for allowing a small group to make this movie”.
“It is abnormal that anger over the movie turns into attacking US embassies and killing the US ambassador in Libya, who was known for his friendship and close relation with Arabs and supported their struggle for freedom and dignity,” Adwan noted.
“Those behind the movie wanted to tarnish the image of Islam and depict it as a religion of violence and hatred. And it is unfortunate that the unjustified violence against US embassies gave the wrong image of Islam that is completely against what Prophet Mohammad called for, as he called for denouncing violence and urged kindness in all affairs,” he added.
The columnists said scholars and leaders in the Muslim world should come up with initiatives to re-inforce Islam’s true image of calling for tolerance and acceptance of others, while stressing the need for preventing extremists from committing acts that harm the image of Islam.
“The extremists should not be allowed to react according to their agendas. In the Muslim world, there are wise scholars who can play a role in clarifying the Muslims’ message to the West as the type of protests over the film witnessed in some Islamic states were dangerous,” Hussein Rawashdeh wrote in a column in Ad Dustour.
The columnists said the film was part of a conspiracy to cause a divide between Arabs and the West and Muslims and the US in particular.
“Those who killed the US ambassador in Libya and three other diplomats did more harm than the film itself because their disgusting and terrorist crime prompted Americans and many others even in the Muslim world to search for the lousy film that seeks to cause a divide between Muslims and Christians in the region,” Al Rai’s Saleh Qallab wrote in a column on Saturday.
“Every part of the film indicates that there is a conspiracy to prevent the building of ties between the US and the Arab world that are based on the interests of the two nations,” said Adwan, attributing the film to a “Zionist scheme” to cause a confrontation between Arabs and the West.
Al Arab Al Yawm’s Osama Rantisi alleged in his column on Saturday that the film was created by the US government to manipulate voters in November’s elections.
“The US administration wants to find new pillars that would help it continue to rule for the next four years and what excites American voters the most is talk about combating terrorism.”
“Under the slogan of combating terrorism, former US president George W. Bush managed to rule for eight years and Obama is doing the same thing now,” he wrote.
In the face of attempts to provoke Muslims and defame Islam, the writers urged the production of a series of movies directed to the world that depict the Islamic values of tolerance and coexistence.
“There should be films that highlight to the entire world the true identity of Islam and there should be initiatives in this regard,” Al Ghad’s Basim Tweissi said on Saturday.
Muslim scholar Amr Khaled urged Arab and Muslim film producers to cooperate to produce a film depicting the life of the Prophet Mohammad to show the genuine values and principles of Islam.
In an interview with MBC aired on Friday, Khaled urged the Arab League to pressure the international community to endorse laws that prevent ridiculing and insulting the beliefs and symbols of all religions in the world.