First, by all means, this anti Prophet (PBUH) film does not fall under the category of art work at all; but instead, it is a criminal act on the moral, humanitarian, religious, cultural and artistic levels. Therefore, it is a mistake to consider it as a movie or as a work of art; it is rather a kind of personal hallucination of a mentally and psychologically ill people.
Another important note is that this so-called movie has been filmed over a year ago, with estimated costs of $5 million, which were collected, according to the U.S. media reports, from about one hundred Jewish contributors. Moreover, before it was screened at a cinema hall in Holywood with almost no viewers earlier this year. A clip of that movies has been uploaded on YouTube since last July and has been dubbed in the Egyptian accent, but no one paid any attention to it at the time and it was completely neglected. This is what has emerged so far, and logically, we should ask some questions based on those facts and many other facts, so let us start.
We all know that there are ill people who like to work on provoking sectarian tension from both sides. We also know that those same ill people have positions, visions and hatred that, if made available on mass media, will ignite a strife fire that can never be put off. Moreover, we know that in all doctrines, there are beliefs that cannot be touched or debated. We also know that if we want to find reasons for disagreement and fighting between believers of both religions through written publications, television programs or recorded statements for some people who dress like religious men from both sides, we would find infinite fuel to further ignite the fire. However, it is the combination of awareness, tolerance, the desire to live together, intellectual capacity and the power of faith -- all these things combined -- that make us move beyond this sectarian madness.
All the above lead us to one question that had vanished amid the sectarian fire and smoke of teargas: who provoked this sectarian demon to come out its nest, and put this abnormal so-called anti-prophet film under the spotlights? This “thing” has been available for months and it was treated with carelessness, so who resubmitted it and insisted to link it directly to the Coptic migrants?
Subsequently, this would mean sowing the strife between Egyptian Muslims and Copts. This strife would have been ongoing if it was not for the wind of change that took the reactions towards another direction, which is linking the film with the country it was produced in: The United States. Consequently, the anger was directed toward the U.S. embassies in several countries including Egypt, so the sectarian fire was relatively extinguished, after it was ignited among Egyptians. God knows that if things did not turn towards this direction, the situation would have taken another track. This simply means that there is a side that is trying to ignite the sectarian tansion in Egypt, and we should be aware and should not accept these calls.
We shall not mention this point without discussing it. Many have almost fallen under the generalization error when they accused the migrant Copts, because a very small number of Copts participated in this work .Those who deliberately accused the Coptic migrants, have forgotten -- or pretended so -- that this expression applies to nearly two million Egyptian Copts living abroad. I will not stop here to analyze their situation or the reasons of their immigration, but I will only refer to the first letter I received from an Egyptian Coptis resident in the U.S., the day after accusing the migrant Copts by the U.S. media, about what is really happening and asked me to deliver this message in order to correct this misunderstanding.
Another stance among multiple attitudes, was when a dear Copt friend, who spent his life away from Egypt, but he and his children kept this special bonding alive until now, when he sincerely told me: “I was really ashamed when I saw the movie and the reactions that emerged, this is against the ethics and religion,” and he asked me about what can he do or say to his Muslim and foreign friends. Such reactions are healthy and right for all Egyptian Copts and Muslims.
As for the official reaction, it was very slow and confusing, especially when the events developed and attacks were oriented against the U.S. Embassy, after calls for demonstrations by the allies of the new rulers, who did not participate in the demonstrations, but instead have remained silent and were ashamed to address the situation when their internal allies protested against their external.
The conflict was to choose whose behavior to adopt: the state’s behavior or Muslim Brotherhood’s behavior? Perhaps this confusion was obvious from the speeches of both sites: they addressed the internal allies in the Arabic language by declaring a position that would satisfy their internal allies, while they declared pleasing positions for the Americans and the West on the English site. But they were put in an awkward position when the U.S. embassy declared in a statement that the Muslim Brotherhood group should be aware that the embassy can understand both languages! As for the demonstrations and their consequences, they shall be discussed later on.
The writer is a columnist at the Egypt-based al-Masry al-Youm