I am an Arab-American. So I have had more than my fair share of disappointment. I have observed the many problems of the Middle East: the dictators, the endless violence, the loud voices of religious extremists whose radical ideas contrast with everything I was taught as a Muslim. With that being said, I have never experienced so much disappointment until recently. Because there used to be no hope. Most people agreed that the region was simply out of luck. It would be years, decades, possibly even a century before it went back on course.
These conclusions were shattered by the Arab Spring. My family watched with shock as the names “Mubarak” and “Gaddafi” were displayed on the news next to words such as “fallen” and “ousted.” The unthinkable had happened, and Arab nations finally had the opportunity to become great. Although we were hopeful, we kept in mind that it would still take much time for conditions to improve. I expected economic downturns and government instability. What has recently occurred, however, is much worse than anything I expected. The protests that continue to expand in Arab nations are absolutely appalling. Extremist groups have utilized the chaos to exercise terrorism, as we unfortunately witnessed with the deaths of the U.S. Consulate officials in Benghazi. I will not comment on the politics of this event. But as an Arab I express my complete condemnation of the protests.
I am Muslim. I understand how infuriating the video is. But the response to it was equally horrible. Many Arabs allowed one stupid video to provoke them and turn into the very animals the film claims we are. We should have ignored it. But instead, groups of self-righteous people are taking to the streets and acting violently. The protests have suppressed the voices of the Arab majority once again. They are helping the very cause of the movie's creator, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. Had it been ignored, the film would have gotten what it deserved: absolutely no consideration, and dismissal as a ludicrous production. Instead, it has gained massive attention. For that reason alone, I hope that Google does not censor the film. Obviously I wish that it was never made and that no religion is treated with such vile criticism. But the Arab radicals who unleash chaos every time something like this happens must learn a lesson. It is the same lesson all of us are taught about bullies: ignore them, because they want you to react. Reacting gives a bully more strength and makes them respond even more harshly. Similarly, acting like savages in response to a poorly made video or a Danish cartoon only gives critics of Islam more argumentation points. We must stop taking one step forward and ten back.