Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Holds Open Forum on Anti-Islam Movie
In the wake of a video posted on Youtube, a local Muslim community held an open discussion on the film, the reaction by the Muslim world, and the line between free speech and harmful speech.
A trailer for the film was posted on Youtube by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula under the username "sam bacile" in July but did not garner widespread attention until a portion of it was translated into Arabic by an Egyptian TV station and broadcast on Sept. 8, according to BBC News.
In Islam, it is extremely offensive to depict Prophet Muhammad in any way, BBC explains. The film portrays Prophet Muhammad as promiscuous, violent and foolish.
The forum, which took place at the Baitul Hadi Mosque in Old Bridge, asked the audience whether they believed the desecration of a holy figure was protected by freedom of speech and how they believed the Muslim community should respond.
The discussion fell on determining the line between freedom of speech and harmful speech, and whether or not the film crossed that line.
Multiple members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community attending the forum noted that as Americans, they are grateful for the first amendment. However, they feel that the intent of the filmmaker was not only to harm Muslims but also to incite civil unrest in the Muslim world, therefore making it a form of harmful speech.
Others, however, felt that despite how offensive the film is to Muslims, it did not violate any American laws.
Abdul Nasir, a member of the Baitul Hadi Mosque in Old Bridge, said the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community hopes to hold a second forum in the near future.
Tell us: Do you feel the film is protected by the first amendment or that it is a form of harmful speech?