A trailer of an anti-Islamic movie uploaded on YouTube has unfortunately attracted a lot of attention and YouTube has refused to remove the video. It has raised a lot of question.  In this post, we will try to answer some of these questions, most importantly whether if YouTube should remove the video or not. Since YouTube is under Google, we have analyzed both of their actions as one.

Protest Against Anti Islamic Movie

It is being reported that an actress from the anti-Islamic movie has sued the producer of the movie and YouTube. She has accused the producer of fraud and unfair business practices and has asked YouTube to remove the video. She says that she and the crew had been lied to and tricked into doing the movie, thinking that it was about an ancient Egyptian adventure. But unfortunately has ruled against the actress.

Why do only Muslims react to such Movies?

People have been saying that why do only Muslims react to such content they consider blasphemous, while others do not react to such things about their religion? Especially Christian brothers and sisters have been saying that they do not react to anything about Jesus or Christianity. Well, it seems that they are seriously unaware of their recent history. For instance, lets look at the reaction to the movie "The Last Temptation of Christ". On 22nd October, 1988 a Christian fundamentalist group attacked the Parisian Saint Michel movie theater, when it was showing the movie and they threw Molotov cocktails, which injured 13 people, out of whom 4 were critically injured. There were similar other attacks on other theaters, which included graffiti, setting off tear-gas canister and stink bombs and assaulting filmgoers.

Killing of the US Ambassador to Libya

On September 11, 2012, the US ambassador to Libya was killed in an attack on the US Embassy there. Opinions are divided as to whether the attacks were in reaction to the movie or whether the attacks were pre-planned and the protests against the movie were only used as a cover for the attacks. But no matter, whether the attacks were pre-planned or in reaction to the movie, they are to be condemned because innocent people were killed and killing any innocent human being is against Islam. As the Qur'an says in Sura al Maidah Chapter 5 Verse 32, "If anybody kills any human being, lest it be for murder or spreading corruption in the land, it is as though he killed the whole humanity and if anybody saves any human being, it is as though he saved the whole humanity." Meaning that if anybody kills any innocent human being it is as though he killed the whole humanity and if anybody saves any innocent human being, it is as though he saved the whole humanity. So the attacks on the US Embassy and killing of the Ambassador are to be condemned.

Apart from that protests have reported in several other Muslim countries around the globe and by Muslims even in Non Muslim countries. Non Muslims have also condemned the movie and expressed their dismay. Different Governments and now even the Supreme Court of Pakistan have asked Google, the parent body of YouTube, to remove the video, but Google has refused to remove the video. Reasons for not removing the video have been the excuse of the First Amendment of the US constitution and YouTube's Terms of Service. Lets analyze both of them.

Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment

Some people claim that since the first amendment gives the freedom of expression about religion, that is why YouTube should not remove the video. But does Google really follow the first amendment? The Free Speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits the U.S. Government from punishing someone for the political views they express, even if those views include the advocacy of violence against the U.S. and its leaders. I am not saying this from myself, the first amendment says this. So the First Amendment permits free speech of political views, be it even advocacy of violence. On 31st July, 2012 Google and Apple removed Hezbollah's Lebanese based communication group Al-Manar's TV app from their respective app stores. In another case a certain man named Jubair Ahmed was arrested by FBI for uploading a video on YouTube containing "Jihad prayers". YouTube has removed his account. I am not talking about whether what Hezbollah or Jubair Ahmed did is right or wrong, I am simply referring to the fact that even such speech is included in free political speech in the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. So when Google can not follow such parts of the Free Speech Clause, why should it use the same Free Speech Clause as an excuse for hosting the anti-Islamic video?

Terms of Service

Google and its products have removed content several times before. Just last month on request of the Indian gov't Google removed inflammatory content, including YouTube videos likely to incite violence, but has refused to remove the anti-Islamic video that has already incited and is still inciting violence. Google has been reported saying that the video is against Islam and not against Muslims, which is extremely stupid. It is the exact same rhetoric the most notorious anti-Islamic Facebook pages have been using for years to defend their propagation of bigotry against Islam and Muslims. It is like saying that if the mother is raped, the children are not harmed by any means because the children themselves have not been raped. Would such an answer be sufficient for the her children? No! It is stupid. You might be thinking that this anti-Islamic video is only defamation, but Google has even removed content simply because of defamation. For instance, according to Google Transparency Report, Google removed 180 items from Google Groups relating to a case of defamation against a man and his wife from January to June 2011 on the order of a French court. Google also removed 1,110 items from Google Groups relating to a case of continuous defamation against a man and his family from July to December 2010 on the orders of  US courts. So these stuff were removed on court orders, so has there been any court order for the removal of the anti-Islamic video? Yes, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Chaudhry Iftikhar Hussain has ordered a ban on YouTube and all sites hosting the video until they remove it.

Latest Example of Double Standards Concerning Free Speech Against Muslims

Charlie Hebdo, the French magazine, which published caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the name of freedom of speech, fired the cartoonist Maurice Sinet in 2008 for writing a column deemed anti-Semitic. If Charlie Hebdo really believes in Freedom of Speech, then they should reinstate Maurice Sinet. Why these Double Standards?
Did you hear about the topless pictures of Prince William's wife Catherine, formerly known as Kate Middleton being published by a French magazine? The UK Royal family sued the magazine and yesterday the court ruled in favor of the Royal family and all pictures have been given back to the family and all others removed off the internet. The magazine has also been fined and the photographer is being hunted down and faces jail. But when another French magazine published blasphemous caricatures against Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the French Prime Minister comes up and says it is freedom of speech. A clear double standard. Plus, they never allowed the French Muslim women to wear Burqas, which is a freedom of choice. It is being reported that Pakistani hackers have taken down the official website of the magazine, which published these caricatures.

All these Double Standards towards Islam and Muslims only create a sense of alienation among Muslims. All such practices are harmful for the social fabric. YouTube should definitely remove this video because if any sane person watches the video he would realize that it is not free-speech, it is hate-speech. This video has only been created to incite the Muslims and then call Muslims violent people, who are always violent. The Newsweek just tried to the do the same and published an article by Ayaan Ali Harsi, an Islamophobic sympathizer of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer. The magazine also invited the tweeters to discuss their cover story using the hash-tag  #MuslimRage, but the Muslim tweeters got the better of them and all this turned into a comedy show. Here are a few tweets, I found funny concerning what things cause Muslim rage.

A Non Muslim brother, who had been touched by the action of a Muslim brother tweeted:
My personal #MuslimRage story is this:
Please let us know about your views about the video, the reaction to it and Google's/YouTube's behavior towards all this. All opinions are welcome, but abusive language will be deleted. Please take 5 seconds to share as well.

About Unknown

Student of BA in Islamic Studies at the Islamic Online University. Can be reached at @LiaqatQazi
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