The producer of the film called “Innocence of Muslims” that has created so much drama in the Middle East, including fatalities and violence, is frightened for his life and now enjoying police protection against retaliation for his film that has seriously offended Muslims across the globe. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula still isn’t coming totally clean about the film. Some believe he is the force behind it, but he has at the very least acknowledged his involvement in it in some capacity. Now, as the backlash of the film’s trailer has exploded in Muslim violence against American interests abroad, Nakoula is afraid that his own life or the lives of his family might be next in line for retaliation.
A look around at social media shows conflicting views about what Nakoula has done. In the United States, we believe in freedom of speech. Many say that Nakoula had every right as an American to make this film, regardless of what comes after. Others believe that when something like this endangers others, it is over the line. This is not a legal question; the people behind this film broke no law. Freedom of speech is one of the most important rights that exist for American citizens, and although we here at Common Sense Conspiracy frequently fear for the future of this right, it is still one of the greatest expressions of freedom in the world. However, people have to understand that freedom means that they are free to do as they please, in this case, saying whatever they want to about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. But freedom does not mean freedom from consequences.
So freedom isn’t free? Typically, you hear that line speaking of the military and the sacrifices that they make to help us continue to have this freedom. But for our purposes today, we are talking about freedom not being free in that being able to say or do something legally does not mean that you will not suffer the consequences of your actions.
Take it down to a day-to-day level. You have conversations in your head all the time criticizing or mocking others. We all do. You see stupid people do stupid things and you think of all sorts of colorful things to say. By the virtue of the Constitution of the United States, you have every freedom to go ahead and say those things. Sometimes you may do it. Most of the time you probably think better of it. Why? Because of the consequences. You are free to say it, but that doesn’t mean you will be free from the chain of events that comes after that. Put simply, you have freedom, but that doesn’t mean that you necessarily should do anything at any given time.
Nakoula and the others responsible for this film seemed to have something to say about Islam. They have every freedom to do what they have done, but in so doing, now they are reaping what they have sewn. Most people, especially anyone plugged in enough to want to make a movie like this, knows that Muslims take anything regarding Muhammad really seriously. There have been massive protests and violence in the past for simple cartoon images. Sure, Nakoula and company probably didn’t expect this horribly produced amateur film to have global consequences. But why create the film in the first place? Attacking Islam serves no purpose. After all, America is a country that believes that people also have a right to believe in whatever they choose to believe in. Attacking another culture’s way of life in this manner has no positive outcome for either party. Is it ridiculous that Muslims are killing people over something that should be trivial at best? Absolutely. But it may be even more ridiculous to open this particular can of worms in the first place.
We’re not trying to preach here, but this is an important lesson for everyone to consider the consequences before using a freedom. Simply having the right to do something doesn’t make it right. Or prudent.
For the record, Mr. Nakoula might want to take a look at himself before he throws stones at what anyone else believes. After all, in 2010 he pleaded no contest to federal bank fraud charges in California for which he was ordered to pay almost $800,000 in restitution and serve 21 months in federal prison. It seems hoaxing people into making “Innocence of Muslims” wasn’t the only tricks that Nakoula had up his sleeves.