Let's get one thing straight: Abubakar Kasim is not advocating for "tolerance, respect and harmony" in his latest piece for the Huffington Post. He's advocating for the banning and censorship of "Innocence of Muslims." Not in so many words, of course, but he's prancing so close to the burning bush that his fingertips are scorched.
While one may -- as I have -- deplore the fact that this irresponsible piece of trash ever came to fruition, the fact of the matter is that it exists. It exists, has made its rounds around the globe, and has had disgusting and disproportionate consequences.
To ban the film would be to ban the reason behind the deaths of a shocking number of individuals, and riots that overtook an entire region of the world, but have since quelled.
"Innocence of Muslims" is an artifact of hatred and ignorance. The events following it are of the same ilk. This is not something that ought to be censored but rather, understood and deplored by people all over the world to better understand the mindsets of religious extremists -- both Islamic and Christian, the latter being those who engineered and promoted the film.
When someone like Kasim applauds CTV and CBC for not showing segments from the video, one cannot help but think of a Christopher Hitchens CNN debate over the frighteningly similar subject of those Danish cartoons. The news station blurred out the images, and Hitchens rightly pointed out that they did not do it to avoid sparing the feelings of their Muslim guest, but because they were afraid of retaliation. To censor the clips, as was the case with the cartoons, is not an act of respect, but rather, one of cowardice of the worst sort.
While calling those who believe in freedom of speech "hypocrites of the highest order," he asks them the question: "What would be their reaction if an anti-Semite questions the holocaust? [sic]"
Well, I'm not quite sure how to say this, but I believe there to be a difference between denying a historical event that, objectively-speaking, happened, laid waste to 6-million Jews and a movie making fun of a religious figure who may or may not -- well, I'm not going to chip away at that dam right now.
While "Innocence of Muslims" contributes nothing whatsoever to the discourse surrounding "one of the world's greatest religions" to ban it would be, again, to ban the understanding of an inciting force that has had gut-wrenching consequences. And this is nothing to say of the terribly condescending argument that this film would offend non-extremist Muslims. Surely, those who are unlike the fanatics who lay siege to embassies would not themselves go torch cars, or allowed themselves to have their feelings "hurt;" rather, wouldn't they join the rest of the right-minded in condemning the makers of the film, and the criminals in Benghazi?
Everyone in his right mind would wish "Innocence of Muslims" had never been made, and would have liked to believe it would not incite such barbaric rage in the Middle East. But it has, and whether or not media outlets here in Canada decide to show it, the film is readily available on the Internet for all to see, provided of course, they do not live in a censored country.
This work is now a political and religious artifact which has set off the fuse to a deplorable set of events. To refuse to air clips of it to the general public would -- while being an act of cowardice, as opposed to one of "respect" -- prevent the populace from understanding exactly how thin the skin of religious extremists can be, and exactly why those types of believers are a threat to us all.