I would like to welcome a new guest blogger. Jillian Underwood is my student at the Clinton School of Public Service. She will be helping me keep this blog more up to date.
Here is her first post.
By now, American citizens and Egyptian citizens alike should have both heard about the controversial film trailer Innocence of a Muslim. The film, which has been reported as coming from a self-described Coptic Christian from California, has been described as “inflammatory,” “insulting,” and “emotionally immature” (The Associated Press, September 14, 2012). Reaction to the film has left three Americans and a U.S. ambassador dead in Libya and attacks on U.S. embassies across the Middle East, including Egypt where 220 people were arrested. Al-Qaida and the Taliban have called for more attacks claiming that the attacks were to “avenge Muslims insulted by the film” (The Associated Press, September 15, 2012).
In Egypt, the perceived anti-Islamic film may lead to a provision in the new constitution criminalizing blasphemy and insulting religious figures. Many are suggesting the US should overlook freedom of speech protections and prosecute the filmmakers responsible. “Many Egyptians appear to reject the extent of free speech protection in the US, considering it more important to protect the public order than to protect a person’s right to say offensive things” (Chick, 2012).
Of course, Americans have quite a different perspective. Reacting to the American perspective, in his article Was the Arab Spring Really worth it?: The Fascinating Arrogance of Power, Bassam Haddad comments on the U.S.’s power and describes it as casually barbaric. He came to the conclusion after CNN ran a story asking if the Arab-Spring was “worth it.” Bassam suggests that history is insignificant to those in power and many Americans are probably legitimately entertaining the idea, “Was it really worth it to let these creatures out of their cages?” (Haddad, 2012).
Associated Press. (2012, September 14). Egypt's Christians
anxious, anticipate troubles. NPR.org. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=161180626
Associated Press. (2012, September 15). Al-qaida calls for more attacks on
embassies. NPR.org. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=161191836
Haddad, B. (2012, September 15). 17.“Was the arab spring really worth it?: The
fascinating arrogance of power. Jadaliyya. Retrieved from http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/7365/was-the-arab-spring-really-worth-it_the-fascinatin
Chick, K. (2012, September 17). After film, push strengthens for blasphemy clause in
Egypt's constitution. Minn Post. Retrieved from http://www.minnpost.com/christian-science-monitor/2012/09/after-film-push-strengthens-blasphemy-clause-egypts-constitution