Perhaps some have sensed a change over the past week or so about Muslim riots. There seems to be some sort of underlying breath where people are just itching to say ‘Get use to it, nobody is immune from criticism, and that includes the Prophet Mohammad’.
Seeing a bunch of grown adult Muslims losing control and turning violent is more or less the norm of today’s world. For the most part to others it seems the least little thing sets them off, and others are getting tired of walking on egg shells to avoid setting them off. The reactions of the rioting Muslims are disproportionate to the alleged offense, and that is particularly so when viewed from countries where freedom of speech and freedom of expression is the law of the land.
When looking at criticism, it is important to understand there are different types of criticism. The type of criticism tells a lot about the critic. If the criticism is based on observations and interpretations it is one thing. However if the criticism is malicious and hateful, it is entirely another.
An example is somebody may say that so and so is acting foolish and childish. That would be based on an objective observation when comparing the behavior of so and so to a young person who has not fully developed their adult maturity.
However to say so and so is an idiot and a jerk, it is much more negative and quickly draws attention to the critic making people tend to think what their issues are. A typical question people may ask is Did this critic just have a bad day or is that their normal negative behavior.
Another type of criticism is comparative criticism. To compare behaviors of the past with behaviors of today is an example. Although to some that criticism may sound negative based on the standards of today, it may be entirely factual and acceptable behavior of that particular time. An easy example of that is changing fashion. To dress today the way people did in the 1970’s, would most certainly draw some criticism. But never mind going back that far, just think back 10 years and you will see differences.
So now when we see Muslims getting upset and rioting, people are just getting tired of it. In fact the phrase ‘Muslim Riots’ is finding its way into our daily descriptors, says it is happening far too often and without reason. The Muslim riots tend to make people think Muslims are a pack of animals, and that thinking is supported by terrorism in that almost all terrorism has a Muslim tag on it where death and destruction are the product. It has become so chronic that simply the word Muslim triggers a negative thought as a standard reaction.
So when a person offers what could be seen as negative criticism of the Prophet Mohammed, there is much more than subtle hints that could support that negative view. Very simply the cycle of criticism that feeds the Muslim riots tends to support the criticism. For many Muslims, it is a catch 22 situation that any negative response simply supports the negative criticism and makes the criticism more factual than negative. Although the riotous behavior of Muslims may not be directly linked to the Prophet Mohammed, they are generally linked and proven by repeated behavior when his name is invoked.
So starting off with one of the most recent sparks that have set off Muslim Riots was the short film called “Innocence of Muslims”. After watching the film it is easy to see it is nothing more than criticism that takes literal phrases from the Koran and acts them out through one interpretation of the text. Under US law it is most likely covered under the First amendment of the US constitution Freedom of Speech and freedom of expression. Although many Muslims may see it as blasphemy, there are indeed phrases in the Koran that could be easily be interpreted in the context of the short film if taken in their literal sense. It also seems the motivation to create the film may have come from getting tired of hearing about Muslim fighting and rioting day after day in the news, and it may have been sort of a crude reality check as to how others see them.
But it is not only the Prophet Mohammed who can be criticized, it is anybody as nobody is immune. Even the most respected people in the global community are criticized. The one difference is if criticism is on fact or hearsay. If it is factual the criticism will stick. If it is hearsay or a very distorted view of observable facts it will totally backfire on the critic.
Often examples of backfiring are politically motivated statements where deliberate lies are suggested to influence. Perhaps the most common re-occurrence of backfiring comes from Iran’s President when often what he says has little if anything to do with reality. The reaction for most is just rolling of their eyes and wondering what he has been drinking or what drugs he has been taking. His criticism clearly lowers himself in the global community as he appears to be so out of touch with reality.
Taking this a step further, it is fairly obvious people are getting tired of Muslim intolerance of others, so to perhaps suddenly overwhelm them with a barrage of criticism may actually make them stop and take pause at their behavior. If they can dish it out, then they should be able to take it too. So perhaps the short movie “Innocence of Muslims” may be the seed that encourages that. Only time will tell.