If factuality would be the cover for defence, a defamation case against the "Innocence of Muslims" film-maker in a court of law would not stand a chance...
September of 2012 will go down in history as a month of rioting, murder, and intimidation over a poorly-produced 14-minute trailer about Islam’s prophet Muhammad. Over fifty people – among them Libya-based American Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three colleagues, the rest Muslim – were killed, Muslim-owned businesses were torched, and numerous pundits and scholars were forced to go into hiding. Meanwhile, Muslim nations in the U.N. and the O.I.C., as well as many Muslim organizations, have called for international laws to criminalize any defamation of Muhammad, the Quran, or Islam. Fatwas and rewards have been posted calling for the assassination of those involved in the notorious YouTube clip. Even the bounty for the head of Salman Rushdie, who had no connection with the film, was revived and increased.
There is scarce acknowledgement, however, that most of the crudely-dramatized vignettes in the video were taken directly from highly-respected hadith and biography accounts of Muhammad (see Analysis of ‘Innocence of Muslims’ film below). The outrage was not over the inaccuracy of the portrayals, but rather about the exposure of the shameful side of a man, whose reputation has been protected through extreme deference by faithful Muslims. For their part, the producers of the clip would probably argue that uncritical reverence for Muhammad has allowed militants to parley his violent pronouncements into an international call-to-arms that threatens all non-Muslim civilizations. So the question becomes, “Should respect for X prevent the public from knowing about the imminent danger of blindly respecting X?”
Consumers Union and its publication, Consumer Reports, have provided American with a world-renown product testing and evaluation for over sixty years. Engineers and scientists purchase products and put them through rigorous tests to determine, if they are safe, if they have hidden defects or hazards, and if they own up to the manufacturers’ claims. In 1988, while testing the compact SUV Suzuki Samurai, engineers found they could easily cause the vehicle to tip over while navigating their standard short, “avoidance maneuver” course. As a result, the prestigious magazine deemed the Suzuki Samurai “Not acceptable” – the only car in history to earn such a rating. Suzuki auto sales in the U.S. plummeted. Suzuki sued the Consumer Union for $60 million in damages and unspecified punitive damages for what Suzuki claimed was willfully fraudulent testing. While the suit was developing and progressing through the courts, Suzuki rollover incidents resulted in 213 deaths and 8,200 injuries. Suzuki’s own internal documents confirmed that they were aware of the serious safety problem in the vehicle’s design. In 2004, the lawsuit was dismissed with no penalties paid by the Consumer Union. Meanwhile, Suzuki partnered with General Motors to develop a new SUV model that met or exceeded all the national auto safety standards. The moral of this story is that speaking up truthfully about something that is dangerous saves lives and is to be commended, not condemned.
Islam might be called the Suzuki Samarai of religious ideologies. Analysis of the film trailer below will show how everything portrayed in the movie was accurate. Therefore, any case against the film-maker, claiming defamation of Islam and Prophet Muhammad in the court of law, would not stand a chance like the faulty Suzuki Samarai car case.
Analysis of the 'Innocence of Muslims' film
Was the “Innocence of the Muslims” video trailer inaccurate?
Most of us have seen “Innocence of the Muslims”, the film trailer that sparked rioting resulting in over 50 deaths and damage of properties worth millions of dollars. Here is the link, just in case:
Listed below are the scenes (by time-stamp and theme) along with the references to Islamic sacred texts that provide support for the assertions:
3:02 - Muhammad’s father is unknown. (His father died before he was born, and his mother never raised him.) Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, para. 105
3:45 - Young Muhammad taking orders from and married to older Khadija – Ishaq, para. 120
4:43 - Muhammad buries his face in Khadija’s garments to determine if visions are divine or satanic – Ishaq, para. 154
5:24 - Khadija’s cousin Waraqa is a Christian scholar who helped Muhammad – Ishaq, para. 121
5:43 - Muhammad’s revelations stopped when Waraqa died, prompting him to consider suicide – Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, No. 478
6:27 - Muslims used booty for their income – Quran Surah 48:20
6:35 – “Muhammad is our messenger and the Quran is our constitution.” – taken from the Muslim Brotherhood oath
7:19 - Muhammad given special privileges regarding women and marriage – Quran Surah 33:37-38
8:37 - Muhammad is linked to Allah in authority and worship – Quran Surahs 3:32, 4:80, 8:20, 9:71, 24:47, 24:54, 47:33, 61:11, 64:8, 64:12, and many others
9:11 - Abu Bakr gives his 9-year-old Aisha in marriage to 53-year-old Muhammad – Sahih al-Bukhari Vol. 5, No. 234
9:27 - Muhammad and Omar are “gay”. (With nineteen wives and concubines, Muhammad had very few children and no male heirs.) References to bizarre sexual behavior can be found in Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 4, No. 143, Sahih al-Bukhari, No. 2393, and Sahih Muslim, Nos. 3663 and 3674. The story about Omar apparently comes from this Shiite cleric’s speech: http://ibloga.blogspot.com/2012/06/london-based-shiite-cleric-yasser-al.html
11:15 – An elderly woman, Umm Qirfa, is torn in two by two camels – Ishaq, para. 980
11:32 – “Whoever refuses to follow Islam has only two choices – pay extortion or die.” – Quran Surah 9:29
12:38 - Torture of Kinana bin al-Rabi (a Jew) in front of his wife, Safiya, who Muhammad later raped – Ishaq, paras. 764 – 767
13:10 - Fight between Muhammad and two of his wives – Hafsa and Aisha – when he is caught in bed with Hafsa’s Coptic slave Maryah after he had promised not to sleep with her. This is the subject of Quran Surah 66.
13:43 - “Every non-Muslim is an infidel; their land, women and children are our spoils.” – Ishaq, para. 484
Several scholars, who have studied the origins of the Quran, have concluded that the traditional Islamic claim of the Quran being the “verbal word of God”, transmitted to Muhammad by Angel Gabriel, is not true. For example, the quotations enshrined on the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem do not match the canonical texts of the Quran. The Quran seems to be a collection of religious and political statements from various sources that was assembled in its final form as an Arab national religious text during the rivalry between Caliph Abd al-Malik and Abdullah ibn As-Zubair around 685 – some 53 years after Muhammad died (See “Did Muhammad Exist?” by Robert Spencer, pg.58). Prior to that time there is no clear reference to Muhammad as a prophet of Islam in either Islamic or secular accounts.
Rebecca Bynum has, quite eloquently, stated the dilemma regarding Islam:
Real peacemaking is the result of the stout and unyielding defense of the values our civilization was founded upon. We can start by defending the truth concerning the differences between Islam and Western civilization. We can attempt to bring the enemy to his senses (non-violently) by pointing out the errors in his understanding of reality, because the truth is, Islam is deeply and profoundly wrong. Pretending it is right only worsens our situation by delaying actions that must be taken if our civilization, however imperfect and unseemly it may be, is to be preserved. (“Allah Is Dead – Why Islam is Not a Religion,” pg. 61)
Rational people do not “respect” something because they are legally required to show deference. True respect is earned by the qualities that a person or ideology exhibit. Other religious and political ideologies have had to make radical changes in order to earn public respect. The Mormon (LDS) religion had to abandon polygamy and discrimination against African-Americans to find acceptance in the United States. Nazism was outlawed because there was no way to reconcile its racist and violent ideology with Western civilization. Despite the one billion plus followers of Islam, their insistence on respect for their ideology must be preceded by conclusive evidence that their sacred texts, values, and actions are worthy praise and commendation.