Are people being murdered because of trolling?

By now most of us have heard about this film Innocence of Muslims, which has sparked riots claiming the lives of several people, one of whom was no less than the U.S. ambassador to Libya. The cruel punch line to all of this — because it’s already common knowledge that Islamists are psychopaths who will riot to anything at the drop of the proverbial hat — is that there may, in fact, be no film at all. Some in the media are beginning to be a little skeptical, too.

Sure, there’s a “trailer,” which you may have seen. Here it is.

If your first thought was that this is some shoddy attempt at a comedy sketch shot for less than what you paid for lunch today, then you’d be surprised as I was to hear the claims that this is allegedly an excerpt from a $5 million full-length feature made by a self-described “Israeli-American real estate developer in California” named Sam Bacile. Bacile claims to have raised his very-impressive-for-an-indie budget from “about 100 Jewish donors,” and shot the project last year with dozens of actors and crew. I call bullshit.

Folks, I’ve worked on a number of feature films. Sure, budget doesn’t guarantee talent. But a $5 million budget will most certainly get you an experienced AD (assistant director), DP (director of photography), grip/electric crew, sound engineers and mixers, and proper post facilities to ensure that whatever inexperience your director has will at least be compensated by technical proficiency from your department heads and their respective crews. I’ve worked on low-six-figure budgeted films that had all those things, and if nothing else, looked like films at the end of the day. Five mil also means that you meet the Screen Actors Guild requirements for their Basic Agreement, which puts you well above their Ultra Low Budget, Modified Low Budget, and Low Budget Agreement categories. You could get name talent for this. Yet no one at any agency has heard of Innocence of Muslims. It has no IMDB listing. Steven Soderbergh’s box office hit Magic Mike, which starred at least one A-lister and another one on his way if not already there, cost $7 million.

Sure, there’s nothing preventing someone who manages, by ridiculous good luck and some fundraising savvy, to raise the money Bacile claims he raised from being a raging incompetent who still thinks all he has to do to make a movie is buy a 720p camcorder from Wal-Mart, advertise for free actors on Craigslist, and rent some costumes from the local community college drama department. But you should at least have enough sense to get your green-screen work done by someone who knows his business (you can, after all, afford it), which would most likely include telling you that there was simply no sense in badly green-screening your actors against a desert backdrop when, for the money, you could totally do location work in fucking Morocco.

In short, I don’t think there’s a real movie. I think we’re looking at some especially mean-spirited and vicious trolling of Muslims, not coincidentally timed for the 9/11 anniversary. None of this excuses the lunatic rioting or the murders the rioters have caused. But it does make it all the more tragic that there have been more murders committed in the name of religion, and this time, they may have been provoked by nothing more than a lousy internet prank.

Trade journal The Hollywood Reporter also chimes in.

Though Bacile claims he spent $5 million on the movie — a figure that would put the film’s budget on par with the Toronto International Film Festival entrant and Julianne Moore-starrer What Maisie Knew — the 13 minutes of footage available online look unprofessional. Furthermore, Bacile has virtually no footprint in the Hollywood community. The writer-director-producer has no agent listed on IMDBPro and no credits on any film or TV production.

More strangeness is coming to light. This “Sam Becile” guy appears to have been conning everyone he crossed paths with. There was a cast and crew who worked a shoot, but they were, by their unanimous account, deceived into thinking they were working on something else entirely. Gawker dug up what looks like the original crew/casting call. Just weird.

Law enforcement is now reporting “Sam Bacile” has been identified as one Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a right sleazebag with a rap sheet including federal bank fraud and meth manufacture.


  1. dmcclean says

    Yeah, this certainly rings true. I’m not 100% sure it’s a hoax, or there may be an actually movie and the claimed budget is just a lie, but it does seem like you are probably right.

    $50k I would have believed and thought “wow, where do these people find all their gullible benefactors”, but 5 million is just nuts. On the other hand, I have heard of some of these (authoritarian, racist, creationist, etc) fringe films raising a lot of money to pay for “charitably” mailing copies to everyone under the sun, rather than raising money for making the film per se.

  2. asonge says

    These attacks used whatever excuse they could as a pretext. There is some reporting that’s been done that suggests that these are Salafist muslim groups which are further to the right of the Muslim Brotherhood and the coalition governments of Egypt and Libya. They’re trying to use anything they can to leverage protests which they will coordinate in order to mask an attack on an embassy. The goal of this is to drive a wedge between the US and the current governments so that foreign aid is out-of-the question as a pragmatic election issue. Whenever you sew fear and despair, people will go back to more fundamental versions of religious appeals and will help them create a strong(er) theocracy. To find the “cause” of this in any way except this inside political way in each of these countries will just confuse you, because they will always find something wrong. They *have* to find something to protest. Like I said, we have more investigating to do, but we cannot let these attackers succeed in radicalizing these governments (even though they’re fairly conservative, it could be worse).

  3. gregfromcos says

    Apparently this is the full movie? Still it’s only 11 minutes long. I’m surprised more media has not been reporting on this.

  4. says

    A muslim version of Life of Brian. I hope it is a true movie, can’t wait to see it!

    Btw the demons leave me as well when I am near of what the guy in the movie was. 😉

  5. edward says

    There’s a few bizarre things about this:
    There may be no anti-Islamic movie at all:

    Sam Bacile identity in question:

    One big fraud? Questions over whether ‘$5million’ film that portrayed Mohammed as a pedophile and womanizer AND the producer behind it are fake:

  6. Muz says

    The Room does put this within the realm of possibility. Low budget film types imagine what they could do with that kind of money. But people who don’t know any better could waste it with alarming speed (and be taken for a ride a few times along the way).
    Maybe it was actually shot on an Epic or a Viper or something (or both! a la Wiseau), but they couldn’t work it out so they just cranked it down to 720p for the six months of the shoot (fully paid up rent and insurance in advance).
    Maybe that was the most expensive donkey stock, yet seen.

    $5million is a lot though.

  7. Randomfactor says

    It IS possible to make more money from a flop than from a hit. If you’re unprincipled enough, and don’t care who you get killed.

  8. Luna_the_cat says

    What part of “nobody was murdered over a film” are you saying is wrong? That people weren’t murdered? Patently the poor diplomat and his workers have been. That it was over the film? The film – or purported film – seems to have been the trigger and/or excuse. So, can you clarify?

  9. Stevarious says

    It’s mentioned in the NPR article, and it’s the first thing I noticed – all references to Mohammed are dubbed into the audio.

    It’s so weird. Like, the whole 14 minute trailer? It’s downright bizarre.

  10. Artor says

    Hmmm… All things considered, if I was going to make a movie trolling Muslims, I’d expect that they’d come after me for revenge, especially if I make it over-the-top nasty. So an false public identity would be a first step.
    So now I’m working behind a mask, and nobody knows who I am. Tracking me down is going to be particularly difficult, and I’ve managed to talk a bunch of people into giving me money for this thing. What to do next?
    Maybe make a super-crappy version of the script I showed donors, and claim excuses for why it cost so much money. Oops! now the donors AND the angry Muslims are out for blood. Poof! I’m gone!
    This is what you get after smoking a bowl for back pain. The mind does wander, doesn’t it?

  11. says

    Unlike the Bush administration, who concocted fake WMD evidence as a pretext to invade Iraq, I’ve never known Islamists to need some phony pretext to riot. If their rioting had been motivated by revenge for some recent political activity, they’d have said that. If they were pissed off about a movie, they’d have said that. Some men in the Sudan recently wanted to kill an English teacher for naming a teddy bear Mohammed. They didn’t seem concerned over how silly anyone thought that sounded. Their motives are whatever they say they are, at the moment. They could riot all over again next Wednesday over something else entirely. It’s what they do.

  12. says

    What is it about this cinematic abortion that makes it “mean-spirited and vicious trolling of Muslims?” It looks more like amateurish and unfunny trolling of Muslims. Are this clip’s contentions about Islam any more absurd than Islam’s contentions about life, the universe, and everything?

  13. randomguy says

    Why is this even discussed? What does it matter to what islamic barbarians reacted?

    They have no legitimacy or credibility to dictate what people think and say outside of their islamic hell-holes.

    Martin Wagner is so clueless that he falls right into their trap of auto-censorship and self-scrutinization.

    This is not the standard and framework within this can be discussed.

  14. says

    Please pay attention, and I’ll try to explain this slowly so you can keep up.

    I think you will find, after employing a skill known as reading, that I never made the claim you so boldly refute in your second paragraph.

    It’s bullshit when Muslims riot because they think they can impose their barbarian beliefs on others. It’s also bullshit when scam artists make fake movies that fan the flames of their insanity.

    I know meaningful distinctions can be difficult, but do try all the same.

  15. Anonymous Atheist says

    Note the part about “There was a cast and crew who worked a shoot, but they were, by their unanimous account, deceived into thinking they were working on something else entirely.” So that makes sense – for them to not know they were filming something about Muhammad, the name would have to not be mentioned during the filming.

  16. Anonymous Atheist says

    Their threats/violence are so randomly selective… A teddy bear name is sufficient motivation? How many Islamic threats has AXP received in all the years you’ve had ‘Moohammad’ the stuffed cow on the show?

  17. Cylis B. says

    “Why is this even discussed? What does it matter to what islamic barbarians reacted?”

    A)The entirety of Martin’s initial post covers why this is rather important.
    B)That’s tad bit bigoted, don’t you think?

    “They have no legitimacy or credibility to dictate what people think and say…”

    A)That’s never in dispute.

    “…outside of their islamic hell-holes.”

    B)Again, rather bigoted.

    “Martin Wagner is so clueless that he falls right into their trap of auto-censorship and self-scrutinization.”

    Who’s trap? The makers of the movie? Or do you mean to imply the “islamic barbarians” covertly manipulated Mr. Bacile into the making the movie so that we might haplessly fall victim to auto-censorship, etc… the riots and murders would then be what, side benefits, in your estimation?
    Or do you just mean the general, catch-all, conspiratorial “they”?

    “This is not the standard and framework within this can be discussed.”

    Syntax aside, I completely agree… insofar as it pertains to you.

  18. Brad says

    Westboro can’t show up at everything, maybe we can generate enough bullshit that they’ll riot themselves out like two year-olds having a tantrum?

  19. Cylis B. says

    Great in theory, terrible in practice.
    Every two-year-old I’ve known is ready and raring to go again after only an hour’s nap… and if they only nap for a half hour, they’re even more cranky than normal.

  20. gralgrathor says

    Is it even possible to collect $5m and stay completely off the grid? How does that work, exactly? You just hold up your hand, and somebody comes along and drops a couple of $k in it? No need to establish an identity or intent?

    Wow. I should go into movies. Sounds like my kinda “work”.

    But seriously, I’m simply not going to believe that none of the people that coughed up a friggin’ FIVE. MILLION. DOLLARS. have a clue as to where this bloke’s gone off with the dough.

  21. gralgrathor says

    … Wait – it’s only his claim that he actually raised $5m, isn’t it? Damn, it’s too early in the day for this kind of nonsense.

  22. gralgrathor says

    I suppose there could be legitimate doubt about whether the people that committed the rocket attack against the embassy were the same people rioting about the “movie”. Although that kind of thinking quickly leads into tinfoil hat territory, given the timing of the movie coming out and the rioting coinciding with 9/11.

  23. anonymoose says

    my clothing is NEVER an excuse for rape


    trolling (ridiculous wiseauesque “film”, danish cartoons etc ad nauseam) IS an excuse for murder, arson, bombing, stabbing, shooting and so on…

    oh, the leftard logic

    the proviso for the second statement is of course that said murder, arson, bombing, stabbing, shooting is done by you-know-who – the speshul snoflakes of the idiot left, those adowable littel beardy-weirdies becoz they r “oppwessed people of color”!

  24. John Kruger says

    It is so weird that people feel like they need to pick a side in things like this. We need not choose between the lesser of two dipshit actions. Killing innocent people over a movie they had nothing to do with is indeed the more reprehensible action, but it does not justify making up things to slander someone’s memory. There are plenty of real things to criticize Islam on; lying only weakens the position against Islam. One is worse than the other, but they are both wrong. Even when Martin expressly explains he is not on either side, people still seem unable to read it. Geez.

    There is a lot of anti-Islam Christian money floating around. I wonder if someone thought to lobby the gullible bigots to make a movie, raise as much money as they could, create a cheap piece of crap that they had no idea how to really make in the first place, take the rest of the cash, and abandon the fake identity to disappear to the Bahamas. Or perhaps just lie about the money spent in an attempt to prop up the crap you created.

    Martin makes a strong case though. However much was actually raised for this movie, 5 mil was certainly not spent on making it. Somebody is definitely lying and somebody else is likely getting scammed.

  25. Wouter Rosario says

    “…it’s already common knowledge that Islamists are psychopaths…”

    You don’t think that is a bit of a gross generalization? I understand and share your outrage over this and I am no stranger to your sometimes provocative writing style, but who is served here when you, a somewhat prominent and outspoken atheist, denigrate millions of people to psychopaths?

    Don’t get me wrong; I am fully aware that you are intelligent enough not to actually believe all Islamists are psychopaths, but especially in the last year I see growing anti-Islam bigotry emerging within the atheist community. And in particular among impressionable young American atheists. This type of talk only adds oil to the flame.

    Oh, how I long for the days when the atheist community wasn’t so intolerant and arrogant.

  26. MrPendent says

    That’s what I’m reading too.

    Although for his money ($5 mil), I would have gone with the old standby, “Heywood Jablome”.

  27. elitripps says

    It’s not ” growing anti-Islam bigotry emerging within the atheist community”. bigotry would imply that we are singling them out for any other reason than their belief in a god and wholehearted actions to follow his word. If the Crusades were still going on or were started again as the Tea Party leaders would like,we would be denoucing them too. as it stands 1billion moderate muslims stand by and let their version of the KKK run rampant in the streets armed with guns bombs and machetes.
    It’s not bigotry its anti-theism

  28. RenDP says

    This whole thing reminds me of something I witnessed during my childhood. One of the neighbor’s kids kept pulling on the tail of one of the neighborhood kids’ dogs, and the dog kept giving warning growls and such. The kid kept at it until the dog snapped and bit the little brat, after which the mom wanted the dog put down for being a danger to her little crotch fruit.

    We have free speech in the US, but is it really necessary to be poking the dog with a damn stick time and again only to act all butthurt when it finally mauls someone?

    Just putting that out there.

  29. Wouter Rosario says

    It is one thing to be anti-theistic, but quite another to then start referring to all those who adhere to one specific religion as psychopaths.

  30. says

    I think part of the problem with the comparison is that these fanatics are prone to violently reacting to anything they don’t like.

    They aren’t angry because we’re poking them to the point of snapping. That’s how the doctrine sets some of them up in the first place. It’d be more like the dog has been trained to maul anyone who has a stick.

  31. Wouter Rosario says

    To give you an example, in the last week a picture of a girl in a burkini has been making the rounds. Criticizing the burkini is anti-theistic. Criticizing the girl for wearing it is bigoted. And unfortunately I see more and more cases of the latter.

  32. leeslonaker says

    I can’t help but wonder if the money trail for this film eventually leads back one of the Islamic Extremist groups.
    Admittedly, I can make no claims of expertise regarding either film making or Islam ( Extremist or otherwise ).

    Its just that when I ask myself who’s interest was best served by the inflammatory content of this “film”. It seems best designed to drive more moderate Muslims into taking a more extreme position. In some ways it reminds me of the ” war on Christmas “, except with much more tragic repercussions.

    We may never know for sure, but I do wonder. Is any one else wondering the same thing?

  33. says

    So now that recently Germany has declared illegal the circumcision
    for religious ground, what is your call on that? Muslims, Jews and Christians for circumcision have what right? to burn Berlin?

  34. Wouter Rosario says

    Same logic. I criticize the practice and the reasoning for it, but not the people who have had it done.

    And just to be clear, circumcision is only a religious practice for Muslims and Jews. Not Christians.

  35. says

    Now that recently Germany has declared illegal the circumcision
    for religious ground, what is your call on that? Muslims, Jews and Christians for circumcision have what right? to burn Berlin?

  36. says

    about “christian” circumcision, until the 80’s it was obligated for males to be circumcised in the catholic church in many occidental countries. I don`t know about Seventh Days Adventists, but I guess they do circumcised for they follow jewish laws…as for the other sects, I don’t know about jehovah witnesses…

  37. lorn says

    The Muslim world is incredibly thin skinned. It makes it an incredibly easy to manipulate population. Draw a picture and they riot. Tell a joke and they go into a blood lust. If it wasn’t for the very real body count and property destruction it would be a joke.

    And then there are the political motives.

    If the anti-Israeli/ anti-American sentiments within the Muslim world are fanned to flame it can be assured that the American population will react defensively and return to a bunker mentality. Look … scary brown people … and a big chunk of the American population reacts by looking for friendly father figures with reassuring white faces and a ‘daddy will make the bad people go away’ attitude.

    Violent fundamentalists with brown faces act badly and a lot of otherwise intelligent and conscientious people suffer fear-induced brain lock and retreat to binary logic, fascism, tribalism, and good old American jingoism. It is a sure thing that Limbaugh, the religious right, and the entire right-wing noise machine will be wallowing in the ‘imminent Muslim threat’ and facilitating as much panic and reaction as possible.

    Once the maximum level of fear and panic has been reached the right will offer their solution to all the insecurity … brother Romney, wrapped in a flag and and carrying a cross, will protect you.

    The entire situation, a shadowy figure, using funding from mysterious sources, produces a slur that ignites the Muslim world and potentially throws an election, is entirely too cute, convenient, and well timed. This smells like a political play. Given the poor cinematic values, low budget, weak acting, and overall manipulative, vicious and destructive intent it might be a James O’Keefe production.

    It was on You-tube for a couple of months before this, and likely took a few months to fund and produce. Wasn’t O’Keefe feeling around for a project about that time?

  38. says

    By “Islamists” I do not mean all Muslims. I refer to those who commit crimes and acts of terror in the name of their religious fanaticism.

    As for my own intolerance and arrogance, while I freely engage in hearty criticism on the blog, I have, at the very least, never bombed, stoned, shot, burned with acid, or otherwise maimed and murdered anyone for simply believing differently than I do. Nor, to my knowledge, has anyone else in the atheist community. So you can take that as you will.

  39. says

    I am pretty sure the recent terrorist acts have nothing to do with that film…It is only something in parallel, but I also have the feeling that it is a set up, that film, made by some muslim extremists to irritate and provoke the moderate muslims to become angry.

  40. says

    This is possible, but as I said, I’m disinclined to think this happened largely because Islamists have never before needed to manufacture fake pretexts to engage in riots and terror. I think this “Bacile” person is a garden variety con man who scammed people out of money to make a shitty film inflaming Muslims, and he did it for the lulz. He has now disappeared, possibly with a suitcase of cash, while violence ensues.

  41. lee says

    Butthurt? That is a pretty insensitive term to use in regards to a massacre. I think it IS necessary to poke the “dog” and continue criticism of their cult. The more we walk on glass in order to avoid offense, the closer we get to binding resolutions outlawing blasphemy.

  42. says

    I wouldn’t like to be in the shoes of the comedians…Can you imagine how they must feel at the moment?! I hope for them they were well payed to be the new Rushdies and have to hide all their life…

  43. neilt says

    Two problems with your comment.

    1. Free speech is free speech, or it isn’t. If there are poeple rioting over this film, they are wrong, period. At that fundamentally forceful level of reaction, encouraging self-censorship is literally giving political power to violent, irrational people who wish to control others they have no right or reason to control. No thanks, I don’t care how bad the film is.

    2. Your analogy is far more bigoted and self-righteous than anything else I could imagine. If I were to advocate military force, rounding up the rioters and shooting them in public as an example to others, it would still be less bigoted and dehumanising than what you wrote. My solution would still leave the door open for responsibility, change, and growth of others. Humans can do that…dogs, not so much.

  44. says

    well the problem I think is not whether the film is a good taste or not or how much the producer received, but the disproportional reaction from the islamists in Lybia, Egypt and Yemen for a 17 minutes clip on youtube presumed from USA and then attack american embassies and killing people for that is already by the consequences an evident critic by itself of Islam.

    No freedom of speach in religions:
    Judaism: speak as you will, if we don’t agree we will exclude you.
    Christianity: speak as you will, then we will say Satan speaks through you.
    Islam: speak as you will, we will kill you…

  45. says

    Aren’t we engaging in film criticism and evaluation of rhetoric while murder and mayhem are going on? The major problem here isn’t an idiot film maker who can be easily ignored, refuted, or written off. The violent response to the movie so far eclipses questions of artist inherit that to address those questions of artistic merit at this time is absurd.

  46. says

    In case I wasn’t clear, I wasn’t focused so much on artistic merit (which anyone can see is nonexistent) so much as the likelihood this “Sam Bacile” person, whoever and wherever he is, might have committed some kind of fraud. Either he lied about raising $5 million, or he raised it, pocketed the majority of it while spending a few bucks making a Z-grade video intended to inflame reactions, and has now disappeared while people are being killed as a result. While ultimate responsibility for violence always lies with those who commit it, there’s no denying that this Bacile character is an ethically dubious individual at best and might even be a flat out criminal con artist at worst. It’s tragic that religious loons go on murder rampages, it’s doubly tragic when someone intentionally profits while lives are being lost.

  47. escuerd says

    Shows like “The Atheist Experience” are pretty much off the radars of most of the sorts of Muslims who would threaten violence over it. Many of the most fanatical sorts are the ones most insulated from the views of people outside their religion. The riots tend to arise when imams or mullahs start to publicize some perceived slight to their religion. That happens a lot more often when someone like the creator of this film is clearly seeking publicity and baiting them.

    I remember, some years ago, on the social networking site Orkut (which had plenty of South Asian users, especially Pakistanis at the time), someone who ran a group called “Qur’an is not from God” would get dozens of messages every day filled with spittle-flecked outrage and frequently threats of violence. There were, of course, a good subset with a more tempered, if still unreasonable response.

    If you criticize Islam somewhere where lots of Muslims are paying attention, you’re likely to see lots of fury.

    I’ve never known Islamists to need some phony pretext to riot.

    I’d be surprised if there weren’t cases of phony pretexts like that, and it certainly looks like there have been some.


  48. says

    I’m with all the people who think it’s kind of bullshit to give one ounce of defense or justification for these pieces of shit who rioted and murdered because they were inflamed dickwads.

    I don’t care if it was a hackjob…

    These scumbags murdered people because they were insulted. FUCK THEM.

  49. F says

    Actually, this is how Hollywood operates entirely, flops or hits. They do accounting that would get you jailed or killed in any other industry.

  50. F says


    There will always be murder and mayhem going on while others are doing something else. Your point? Further, we can think or discuss multiple different things during our lives – even in the same day. (See page 98 of my book, The Empowering Magic Secrets of Human Empowerment.)

    You are quite near Dear Muslima territory there.

  51. codemonkey says

    Is it? I don’t know about that. I’m half tempted to apply the fallacy of gray to your statement.

    Asimov’s The Relativity of Wrong: “When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.”

    To complete the analogy, making an offensive movie is a reprehensible move, and rioting and killing completely innocent unrelated people is a reprehensible move. But if you think one is just as wrong as the other, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.

    Frankly, I’m not even sure I would go that far – far enough to say it’s reasonable to be upset over the 5 million dollar film. What’s the difference between a skillfully done, “respectful”, tasteful parody or satire, and this 5 million dollar shit? Islamists will find both offensive, and sentence either creator to death, if Salmon Rushdie is any example.

    The short version is that on the one side, we have someone practicing free speech who needs to be told, at worst, “don’t be a dick”, and on the other side we have a group which deserves hard jail time.

  52. codemonkey says

    “…outside of their islamic hell-holes.”

    B)Again, rather bigoted.

    It’s easy to confuse racial bigotry with cultural “bigotry” and religious “bigotry”. It is not wrong to say freedom of speech good, rioting and killing without just cause bad. For example, it’s not wrong to say Taliban culture, which oppresses women, kills people over the silliest reasons, bad, and western culture good.

    Of course, it’s hard to tell the actual intentions of randomguy, and it’s hard to distinguish whether that post was written by a racist unjustly prejudiced against all Arabs and Arab culture, vs someone who legitimately has a beef with a particular instance of Islamic culture because of certain evil tendencies present therein.

  53. codemonkey says

    It is so weird that people feel like they need to pick a side in things like this. We need not choose between the lesser of two dipshit actions. Killing innocent people over a movie they had nothing to do with is indeed the more reprehensible action, but it does not justify making up things to slander someone’s memory.

    I’ll make this my last post for a while.

    No, I think we do need to choose. We need to choose freedom of speech over the kind of (sub-)culture which would riot when you say something offensive. In an idealized world where I wouldn’t have to fear retribution, etc., the proper official US response would be “We have freedom of speech. If you don’t like it, plug your ears and cover your eyes. If you’re going to attack our embassies and personal over it, then we are going to defend ourselves (or pull our embassies).”

    To paraphrase Voltaire: “While I don’t agree with what you have to say, I will fight to the death for your right to say it.”

    It is a completely different kind of asshole to make an annoying offensive movie and one who would murder someone completely innocent and unrelated to the movie in cold blood.

  54. Cylis B. says

    I agree. I had hoped to illustrate that the *comment* seemed rather bigoted, not that by necessity randomguy is a bigot himself. You yourself did a very admirable job of differentiating between decrying a religion or culture (not wrong), and all individuals within said religion or culture (wrong).
    Maybe I’m just one them lefty liberal ideologues, but for me, as able as I am to identify the dogma and doctrines of Islamic faith as among the most “dangerous” of the monotheism, I reserve “wrong” for individuals who actually use that ideology to be oppressive, violent, murderous, etc.
    I denounce/decry/repudiate/rail against/challenge/hate the rioters and murders not because they are Islamic or Middle Eastern, but because they are rioters and murderers.
    The discussion of how dangerous the ideologies of Islam are, and how they lend themselves to those behaviors, is a whole other (though granted, intrinsically linked) topic in my mind.

  55. John Kruger says

    In case you had not noticed, nobody here is calling for censorship of any kind. I think people are right to openly criticize and distance themselves from the “movie” fiasco, which is not censorship. Both sides are wrong in their own unique ways, and the egregious nature of one side does nothing to validate the other side. “Picking a side” means either supporting censorship and murder or supporting lying, bigotry, and hate-mongering. I will do neither. One side may be less wrong than the other side, but neither one of them is right.

  56. codemonkey says

    @John Kruger

    it does not justify making up things to slander someone’s memory

    I think people are right to openly criticize and distance themselves from the “movie” fiasco, which is not censorship.

    Would you say the same of Salmon Rushdie? Would you say the difference is merely artistic merit? I strongly dislike the direction this appears to be taking us, throwing people to the wolves when assholes threaten violence, just like we did with Salmon Rushdie, just like we did with the Danish cartoons, and just like we may be doing now.

    Again, to paraphrase Voltaire: “While I don’t agree with what you have to say, I will fight to the death for your right to say it.”

    We need to side with the asshole – with that disclaimer that while we don’t agree with what he has to say, we will fight to the death for his right to say it. Anything else will have the effect of abandoning our core values of freedom of speech.

  57. cconti says

    Actually, the possible sentence could have been 40 lashes, but it was never carried out. The UK gov. managed to obtain a presidential pardon for her and she was then released and moved back to Liverpool.
    Turned out that the teddy bear was named after one of the pupils at the school (named after the prophet) and that another person working at the school used it as a pretext to get back at the school through this UK teacher.
    Workplace politics sharia style.


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