Arab students react to unrest in the Middle East

Marcus Clem | Collegio Reporter

Yazeed Aldhwayan says there is a very simple reason why the recent film, “Innocence of Muslims,” created such an uproar in the Middle East.

“The Prophet Muhammad is very sacred,” said Aldhwayan, sophomore in business management from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. “Making fun of him is not okay at all.”

Protests and riots have caused disorder and death. American and other western flags have been burned with the kind of widespread fury provoked by insulting a religion.

The cause seems simple: the short film “Innocence of Muslims,” was created by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Eyptian-born Coptic Christian filmmaker residing in Los Angeles. The film, formatted as a trailer for a larger project that will not be produced, attacks Islam’s founder and holiest figure, the Prophet Muhammad.

“He is our messenger, God’s chosen prophet, and all the people love him,” said Meshari Alduraibi, sophomore in electronic engineering, who is from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. “I cannot understand why anyone would do anything bad to him.”

Alduraibi says he knows that the movie was made by one man without any involvement from the American government, and he has done his best to correct the misconception that the U.S. is responsible for the film’s production.

Aldhwayan says he believes that there is a deeper problem of anger within Arabic and Islamic culture regarding perceptions of western culture. He says he believes that, among other things, the memory of the cartoons published in 2005 by the Danish newspaper The Jyllands-Posten helped inflame this latest incident. After that event, a similar wave of violent protests swept the Islamic world, prompting Denmark’s
government to describe the crisis as the worst of its kind since World War II, according to the Associated Press.

“It is a combination of many things, not just this,” he said. This is the straw that broke the camel’s back. They have a thousand reasons to be angry.”
The protests and disorder in the Middle East came to a crisis point when Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, was assassinated in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11.

Though investigations by the Libyan government in cooperation with the U.S. State Department later determined that the attack had been planned for months by Al-Qaida terrorists, the murder occurred at the same time as protests in Egypt at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo became violent, according to the Associated Press. The connection between these events remains unclear.

“I was shocked to hear of the murder,” said Abdul Alrehan, sophomore in automotive engineering, who is from Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia. “Sadly, the people who are organizing these protests are overreacting. Some of them are blaming America, some of them are blaming Christianity, and I find this wrong. This is the act of one person, and only his ideas.”

Aldhwayan says he disregards the video, and that all Muslims should follow suit.

“Ignore the video. It’s just some guy looking for attention, and it is not even using facts or writing some argument. It is just mockery, just to rile people up because the producer thinks it is funny. I tried, but I couldn’t watch the whole thing, because it is just stupid.”

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