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Can’t We Just Say ‘So What?’
Amer Zahr
Amer Zahr
Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 5:48 pm (48 Comments)

Some idiot made a film depicting an image of the prophet Muhammad.

So what?

He even called the Quran “a mix between some versions of the Torah and some versions of the New Testament” and a bunch of “false verses.”

So what?

The film depicts Muhammad pronouncing the first Muslim animal to be a donkey.  And not just any donkey, a gay donkey!

So what?

The film calls Muhammad a “bastard” with an “unknown father.” In it, he is a soulless warrior who allows his men to take child concubines and slaves.  He refers to himself as the “master” who can freely sleep with whomever he wishes, including married women.  He is called a “child molester,” “gay,” and “a murderous thug.”  His men are shown brutally killing an old woman.  They are commanded by him to cut off a Jewish man’s legs and arms in front of his wife.  He proclaims that all those who refuse Islam must “pay extortion or die.”  He proclaims that, “Every non-Muslim is an infidel. Their lands, their women, and their children, are our spoils.”

Ok… So what?!

The movie’s trailer was posted on YouTube and has led to protests in various parts of the Arab World, including in Libya, where US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed in an attack that coincided with the protests, though it is unclear whether the actual raid on the Benghazi consulate building was carried out by protesters or an organized group that had planned its attack well before the movie emerged.

What is clear, however, is that the film created outrage.  But why?  Depictions of Muhammad are clearly forbidden in Islam.  When he is depicted, it is usually done by idiots who are only looking to create a stir and violent reactions among those “savage Muslims.”

But why can’t we just say “So what?”

It is still not well-defined who the filmmaker of this clunky, shoddy production was.  Who cares?  Those who starred in the movie have come out to say they were misled about the purpose of the production.  And, for the most part, they cannot clearly identify the producer.

Even more reason to simply say, “So what?”

Our community needs to grow up.  We have real problems to worry about.  In the wake of the Arab Spring, further degradation of Palestinian rights, the demonization and de-humanization of Arabs and Muslims in American society and the American political process, an idiotic move created by an idiotic human being should simply cause us to say, “So what?”

Mitt Romney is running on a platform of starting wars in Iran and Syria, Barack Obama re-declared Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, and mosques in America are being vandalized at an alarming rate.  A man gunned down six Sikhs in Wisconsin because he thought they were Muslims.  The NYPD monitors Muslim student groups.  A congressman declared Hillary Clinton’s top aide an infiltrator simply because she was a Muslim.  Arabs and Muslims in America are seen as suspect at every turn.

So when an idiot makes an idiotic film about Muhammad, it actually becomes our duty to just say “So what?”

We are educated.  We are deep thinkers.  We are above being instigated to idiotic behavior by idiotic hate speech.  Our pride in our heritage, culture, and religion requires us to ignore the inconsequential clamor and tackle the real problems.

There are angry mobs with torches across the Middle East.  But there are also educated people on social media sites writing things like “I hope he gets what he deserves.”  That kind of behavior doesn’t make me say “So what…”  It makes me say, “We are better than this.”

Who are we if we are so easily prompted to such anger by an unprofessional amateur film that will never be distributed or sold?

I have a message to the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world.  Islam doesn’t need your protection.  It needs your representation.

We cannot ask to be taken seriously until we can see through the noise, until we can confront the real issues with a coherent voice, and until we can sometimes learn to just say, “So what?”

* Amer Zahr is a Palestinian American comedian, writer, professor and speaker living in Dearborn, Michigan. He is also the editor of "The Civil Arab."

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