14/09/2012

The anger of the Islamic world: the war against the Western is declared?

The last 11th September, the release on Internet of the film “Innocence of Muslims” has provoked the anger of thousands of Muslims across the Arab world. There were violent protests in Egypt and Libya, which had a tragic end: in Benghazi, gunmen attacked the US consulate and US ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three diplomatic officials were killed. The film, which describes the life of the Prophet Mohammad, was produced and directed by an Israeli-American from California, Sam Bacile, which describes Islam as a “cancer” and a religion of hate. The Israeli government has denounced the film and denied any connection between Israel and the author of the film, who might have this nationality. The Security Council of the UN condemned the attack against the consulate, stating that such acts were “unjustifiable regardless of their motivations, their authors and circumstances”. “The United Nations are opposed to any form of slander against a religion, but nothing justifies the violence that took place in Benghazi”, said the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki Moon. Members of organizations such as NATO and EU have also condemned the massacre.

US President, Barack Obama, has promised that the attack will not break the ties between the USA and Libya: “The United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, and we must all, unequivocally oppose this kind of senseless violence which costs the lives of diplomatic officials”. In addition to that, the US Department of Defence, which judged the current situation extremely risky, announced the deployment of a squad of marines specialized in counterterrorism. Hundreds of people demonstrated in many countries in the Middle East: in Tunisia, the police proceeded to fire tear gas to disperse Salafist militants, who tried to break the security cordon around the US embassy; in Sudan, several hundred people protested in front of US embassy in Khartoum; in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, there were demonstrations against the USA, burning American flags in front of the UN headquarters in Gaza. In Tehran, there were protests against the film near the Swiss embassy, which represents US interests in Iran. Iranian Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei, accused Zionism and US government of being the “number one” responsible for the production of the film and asked the USA to punish its authors. He added that if American politicians are honest, then they should choose for those who committed “this heinous crime” and their financial supporters, an exemplary punishment, equal to the offense they were accused of. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, however, assured that the Washington government had nothing to do with this disgusting and reprehensible film, urging, at the same time, the political and religious leaders to condemn the violence that occurred since its diffusion on the Internet.

However, it is still useless to argue about the number of demonstrations that have taken place and will take place soon. What is extremely troubling is the anger expressed during these events: an anger which could be inflamed within each State by the political forces still not satisfied with the consequences of the Arab Spring and the last election results, as in the case of the Salafists. Some analysts say that this is not a case and, if it was true, the consequences will be suffered by an area that is already the scene of terrible civil wars, just like Syria.

GIACOMO MORABITO

University of Messina