Muslim Violence – Who’s to Blame? by Pastor Doug Sukhia
The violent protests around the world in reaction to the video trailer of the movie the “Innocence of Muslims” have led to calls for laws prohibiting the criticism of Islam’s prophet. The 56 country Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is calling for all countries to pass laws against “hate speech,” and the “denigration of venerated personalities.” Such speech constitutes “flagrant incitement to violence” and should not be protected speech. Similar calls are coming from Muslim delegates to the UN general Assembly. Husham Al Husainy, an Imam in Dearborn, Michigan, has called for laws restricting such speech for the sake of public safety declaring “They should put a law in place not to insult the spiritual leader.” New Jersey Imam Mohammed Oatanoni has called free speech that mocks Islam a national security threat. The Los Angeles Times has published two editorials, one by Nathan Lean and another by Sarah Chayes, arguing for restrictions on speech that leads to violence. But these violent reactions, that so far have led to at least 50 deaths worldwide, are the responsibility of the people involved not the producers of the film! The saying “Our responses are our responsibility” applies here. People have a moral responsibility to control themselves in spite of the provocation. We don’t buy the excuse of the rapist who says, “She made me do it because of the way she was dressed” so why should consider the movie makers responsible for the violence in response to it? Is the wife beater justified because he was “provoked”? Were the peaceful civil rights marchers of the 1960’s responsible for “provoking” the violence done against them by white supremacists?
The Bible doesn’t give a license to sin due to provocation. God’s commandments to not murder, not commit adultery, not bear false witness, not steal, etc. do not include the escape clause “unless you are under severe temptation or provocation”. It is not right to mock and insult someone, but that doesn’t give the one insulted the right to attack the mocker. Jesus even said explicitly to turn the other cheek instead of retaliating even if slapped (Mt 5:39)! This wave of violence and destruction is the responsibility of the people doing it not the provocateur. “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control” (Prov. 29:11).