Blocking Innocence of Muslims Serves No Purpose

Innocence of Muslims is a ridiculous film that is probably made with no objective other than offending Muslims worldwide. However, blocking its access in Oman serves no purpose at all. The film has caused riots in many countries as it mocked Prophet Mohammed and portrayed him in a manner that offended Muslims all around the world.

Violent riots took place in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, and the American Ambassador to Libya was killed in attacks made by fanatics angered by the film. There is no doubt that the controversial film is offensive, but there is still no justification for the violence or the death of innocent diplomats as a response to the film. A number of Muslim countries, including Oman, decided to attempt blocking access to the YouTube video showing the film from within each of these countries.

I do not understand what the purpose is behind blocking this video. It cannot logically be an attempt to make sure that the people in Oman do not see the video and therefore not get offended and take violent actions in response. It is impossible to stop the public from watching the video because it has been uploaded to a million websites already and there is no way to block each individual link to the video. People have already downloaded the video and are sharing it on Whatsapp, Facebook, and many other services for sharing content. People are not going out of their way to watch the video because they want to be offended.

They are doing this because they want to know what the fuss is all about and they want to be able to make the decision for themselves on whether or not the video is in fact offensive. Blocking access to the video in Oman does not achieve anything, instead it mistakenly portrays Oman as a backward, volatile country that cannot tolerate a lame video made by a hateful person.

The irritating part about this story is that the video in question is a mediocre production that could be mistaken for a homemade video by a high school student and should not be worth the time we spend discussing it. Blocking access to such a video could be a start of a new trend where ISPs would feel that they have to block any video made by any person making fun of Islam or the Prophet.

Protecting the sanctity of religion is important, but freedom of expression is an important pillar of society as well. We should teach our people that we can be tolerant instead of ‘protecting’ them from the opinions of other people. We need to learn that it is okay for others to have different points of view, and we must have the right to access information and make our own judgements as to what is appropriate and what is not, because censorship surely is not the answer.