The online 14-minute clip of a purportedly anti-Islamic movie that sparked protests at the US embassy in Cairo and and the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya is now looking like it could have been ginned up by someone sitting a basement with cheap dubbing software.
Full credit goes to Sarah Abdurrahman at On the Media and Rosie Grey at Buzzfed who appear to be the first to highlight (there may be others, but they're the ones who caught my eye) the fact that almost every instance of language referring to Islam or Muhammad in the film has been dubbed in. That is, mouths are mouthing but the words you're hearing don't match.
So that’s scary. That means with even the type of minimal equipment found in my basement, I could produce some bit of amateur crap that would cause rioting and death.
There have to be a lot of people in the developed world who dumb enough to do so, and that’s truly a scary thought. And in the United States, I would think the first amendment makes this clearly protected speech. One can ridicule Christian beliefs and make people darned angry, but there’s not a darned thing they can legally do about it, either.
The famous instance of the crucifix in urine was NOT over whether the artist should be allowed to make such a piece, only over whether public tax money was appropriately spent to promote it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piss_Christ It would be a disgrace to the liberal (small “l”) principles upon which American governance rests to contend that Islam was somehow to be exempted from the general right to make fun of the other person’s religion, or one’s own religion.
I am afraid to think where this may be heading. Long term, one could hope for toleration to increase in the Islamic world, but short term we are clearly headed in the wrong direction (e.g. Copts in Egypt, Christians in Iraq).