The following essay by Michael Copeland was originally published in shorter form by LibertyGB in 2012.
The film trailer, “Innocence of Muslims”, depicts episodes in the life of Mohammed. Blackened without cause, it was wrongfully blamed by Hillary Clinton for the unrelated jihad attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi that killed four Americans. The Obama administration, disgracing the First Amendment, publicly apologised for it in Pakistan. The film, albeit low-budget, is important for being a pioneer work.
BBC Misinformation: Mohammed Film “Innocence of Muslims”
By Michael Copeland
“Q&A: Anti-Islam film”
On their news website the BBC have an article headed “Q&A: Anti-Islam film”. This heading neatly furnishes the desired viewpoint for the readers, to colour their understanding, and probably remain in their memories. Typical of the BBC’s articles on Islam, the author is unidentified. Consequently there is no disclaimer limiting to the author the opinions expressed: they are presented as the BBC’s own.
The writer, obviously not one of the BBC’s usual named film critics, carefully provides a slant by announcing the film as “anti-Islam”. In the text it is further criticised as “satirising” and “mocking” Mohammed: the writer calls his depicted actions “insulting”. The film, Innocence of Muslims, is a very low budget trailer. It is a brief biographical documentary, portraying incidents from the life of Mohammed, as recorded in Islam’s source texts. The BBC, who produce both satires and documentaries, have the facilities to verify the accuracy of these pejorative critiques. Their editors failed. The film does not satirise, insult, or mock Mohammed’s actions: it is not anti-Islam.
The article says:
“The footage appears to depict Islam as a religion of violence and hate.”
Are the BBC being threatened? Can they not decide whether the film depicts Islam as a religion of violence and hate, or only “appears to” do so? The writer does not say the film “appears to” be anti-Islam, or “appears to” be satirising and mocking. Why the uncertainty? Of course, this is a false critique. The BBC’s unnamed writer is blowing smoke. This bluff is there to convey, falsely, an impression of injured surprise, so as to put people off from checking for themselves. It is there to affirm and shore up the carefully planted propaganda deception, “Islam is peace”, with which George W. Bush was duped, and, after him, Hillary Clinton and a line of British politicians. This lie and its companion, “perversion of Islam”, have run and run. The writer does not want them to be disturbed.
“Let’s be clear,” said Hillary Clinton, “Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.” Hear Tony Blair: “…there is not a problem with Islam… there is no doubt about its true and peaceful nature… The doctrine and teachings of Islam are those of peace and harmony… It is a whole teaching dedicated to building peace in the world…” (quoted by Douglas Murray, The Strange Death of Europe). Of the terrorists’ motivation Blair says: “It’s an ideology based in a complete perversion of the proper faith of Islam… …perversion of Islam is the source of a lot of the problems in the Middle East”.
David Cameron repeated the same narrative, in his best emphatic air of authority: “They are killing and slaughtering thousands of people… They boast of their brutality. They claim to do this in the name of Islam. That is nonsense. Islam is a religion of peace. They are not Muslims. They are monsters.”
These are all falsehoods. They are what smooth-talking Islamic deceivers, like serial liar Tariq Ramadan, advisor to both Blair and Cameron, have been feeding to politicians under Islam’s doctrine of “Permissible Lying” (Manual of Islamic Law, Reliance of the Traveller, r8). Islam is all sweetness, you see: it could not possibly be a religion of violence and hate. This also complies with the tyrannical political correctness that prevents true descriptions from being expressed.
Islam authorises deception of kafirs. This has an Arabic name, taqiyya. “Using deception to mask intended goals” is instructed in the Muslim Brotherhood’s secret “Explanatory Memorandum” captured in a police raid. The deceived politicians’ rosy picture is completely at variance with Islam’s track record, its source texts, and its leaders’ announcements, all accessible on the internet. The BBC themselves were told directly by Anjem Choudary: “Islam does not mean ‘Peace’: it means ‘Submission’.” Apparently BBC editors know better.
The film Innocence of Muslims is accurate.
“Violence is the heart of Islam”, says Ayatollah Yazdi of Iran, advisor to Iran’s Ahmadinejad. “Battle,” — which is violent — “animosity, and hatred …are the basis of our religion”, explained Osama bin Laden in his open letter after 9/11. “Islam is a religion of blood for the infidels. Prophet had sword to kill people,” proclaimed Ayatollah Khomeini; “a religion of war and conflict”, said Caliph al Baghdadi; “a permanent war institution”, instructs Al Azhar in Cairo. “Islam is a religion of power, fighting, jihad, beheading and bloodshed”, says Imam Hussein Bin Mahmoud, a prominent writer. “Muslims… must have… enmity and hatred” of kafirs, instructs islamqa.com. “As a Muslim”, explained Anjem Choudary to the BBC’s own Newsnight, “I must have hatred for everything that is non-Islam”. Don’t the BBC’s editors listen?
The Koran, which anyone can consult online, is the authority. The “excellent pattern” praised in Koran 60:4 is: “between us and you enmity and hatred forever…”. Koran 9.5, a late verse which overrides — “abrogates” — all peaceful verses elsewhere, because they are earlier, says: “Kill the idolaters wherever you find them…”. Christians count as idolaters because Islam teaches, erroneously, that they worship the cross. There are many, many more verses which repeat these themes. The verses are — all of them — part of Islamic law, with the death penalty for denying even one (Manual of Islamic Law, Reliance of the Traveller, o8.7(7)). Can the BBC’s editors not read them? Do they patronisingly assume that their viewers cannot read them?
The article goes on to say:
“The trailer depicts Muhammad and his followers as killers, looters and extortionists.”
This statement is artfully made in such a way as to imply, without actually saying so, that everything in it is untrue, so as to influence the reader to dismiss it out of hand. Notice that the author does not quote the sources. Why not? The reason is that the sources confirm every one of those depictions. Mohammed and his followers were killers, looters and extortionists. In one day they beheaded six hundred prisoners (some texts say nine hundred) of the Jewish Quraysh tribe. Islam has an extortion tax, or “protection money”, called jizya. Koran 9:29 commands Muslims to fight Jews and Christians “until they pay the jizya in willing submission” as subjugated second-class citizens.
Mohammed had critics murdered. He authorised his followers to lie, to rape captive women whether they were married or not, and to loot the homes they attacked, with one-fifth being reserved for him. A whole chapter of the Koran is headed “Spoils of War”. The BBC’s senior editors need only look at the sources. The killing of kafirs and looting of their property remain core tenets of Islam. As the Islamic State explained, after the Brussels bombings of 2016:
“Allah also has made the blood of every kafir legal to spill, and… their wealth halal to take”.
The BBC’s news service handles announcements such as these. Can their news editors not take them in?
“In one scene the Prophet sanctions the sexual abuse of children,”
says the article, as if that were some controversial shock. This is bluff. The reader is supposed to reject the film’s depiction as an unfounded fiction. It is no such thing. Mohammed, for the benefit of the readers and the BBC’s senior editors, married Aisha when she was six and consummated the marriage when she was nine, and still playing with dolls — and that is from Aisha’s own testimony. As a result of Mohammed’s example the age of nine years, that is, of nine lunar years — eight years nine months — is the age of marriage in Iran (Civil code, Article 1041) and other Islamic countries such as Pakistan and Yemen. Ayatollah Khomeini’s wife was aged ten. In Dec 2010 the Islamic website www.islamonline carried the message:
“it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl.”
This “sanctions the sexual abuse of children”, does it not, BBC? What about all the documentaries the BBC have produced on child sexual abuse? Are they suddenly out of date and mistaken? The incidents depicted in the documentary are easily ascertainable in a brief search of Mohammed’s life story. The interested enquirer need only visit The Religion of Peace website to find them quoted. The BBC’s editorial scrutiny has been reprehensibly inadequate.
“Why is it so offensive?” asks the article, helpfully supplying a viewpoint for the reader. The explanation offered is that the film is “satirising” Mohammed and “mocking” his wife and companions. It does neither. Islam’s source texts really do relate the story of Mohammed talking to a speaking donkey, and asking him if he likes females. That is no satire.
In one place the film uses some artistic licence, where the criticism has more substance. Mohammed’s pagan wife Khadija had an elderly cousin, Waraqa, a Christian, to whom Mohammed would go to hear Bible stories. The film has her asking him to help: he says he will prepare a book for her with, as the article complains, “a combination of subversions of the Torah and the New Testament”. The writer of the article infers that this refers to the Koran, and this is the source of the claimed offended feelings. The writer, though, has misheard the soundtrack. The voice says “a mix between some versions of the Torah and some versions of the New Testament”. Notwithstanding the writer’s claimed hurt feelings it remains a fact that the Koran does indeed contain some versions of the Torah and some versions of the New Testament, differing from their Bible originals. It is a true observation.
Islamic scholars, for their part, teach, without any Koranic authority whatsoever, that the Bible has been corrupted. Would the article’s writer not therefore expect Christians and Jews to all be “offended”, and have “hurt feelings”? It seems this is a reaction for Muslims only. Religions have their different teachings: that is a given. They should be accessible to be discussed without emotional loading. Islam, though, does not encourage discussion. In fact it strongly discourages questions, using the Koran’s helpful instruction in 5:101: “O you who have believed, do not ask about things which, if they are shown to you, will distress you”.
Mohammed is recorded as not having been educated to read. In his day his claimed revelations were recited, so the reference to a book is rather out of place. When Waraqa died Mohammed is shown being suicidal because his inspiration has gone. Islamic sources record that after his terrifying experience in the cave he thought, “Woe is me! Poet or possessed!” (Guillaume’s translation of Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Mohammed p.106). Tabari records that he said to his wife, “Khadijah, I think that I have gone mad.” Interestingly, when he was a small infant his Bedouin wet-nurse took him back to his mother because she thought he was demon-possessed. On several occasions he decided to kill himself. His suicide attempts are well documented in Islam’s texts. The Koran records his contemporaries saying: “He is certainly insane”… “Indeed, he is mad”… “Surely he is possessed!” (68:51)
Who in the West says the film is offensive? It may well be that to cinema fans the low-budget quality is offensive, but technical matters are not the content. The content is a documentary, depicting the sources. Are the sources offensive? Are the BBC’s documentaries about Jesus “offensive”?
The article continues:
“Other references to allegations that Muhammad had affairs with women, was greedy and violent would clearly be insulting in any context.”
No, BBC, these are not “allegations”: they are recorded in Islam’s texts. Do not misrepresent the case. Mohammed was a leader, someone in the public eye. He had eleven wives (including the child Aisha), sex-slaves, and affairs with women, such as taking the attractive wife of his adopted son. When one of his wives returned earlier than expected she did indeed find him — in her bed — with Maria the Copt slave woman. That incident is well attested. The BBC do quite a good trade in “affairs with women” by leaders in the public eye. Is their coverage of such news items “insulting in any context”? Stop manipulating the reader. This is a smoke screen to obscure what Islam’s texts contain.
Mohammed was a warlord. War is violent. In one of his surprise raids on an unarmed village, in order to find out from a captive where the money was, he ordered, “Torture him”. A fire was then lit on his chest. After that same raid he took the most attractive teenaged female captive for himself, displacing the companion who had already chosen her, and “consummated” the capture that same evening after killing her newly wed husband, brother, and father, the tortured one. In another incident he punished some camel thieves who had killed the herdsman and left Islam by having their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, their eyes pierced with hot irons, and leaving them to die on rocks in the hot Arabian sun without water. These accounts are from Islam’s own texts. Are they “insulting in any context”? It is the BBC and their unnamed writer who call Mohammed’s actions “insulting”, not the film.
The main objection to this article is that the title, “Anti-Islam”, is not true. Not only that, but the writer fails to provide evidence for the claim, only offering further untrue assertions. The film shows incidents in the life of Mohammed as set out in Islam’s sources. It expresses Islam. It promotes Mohammed as he is described. For the film to be “anti-Islam” it would be necessary for Islam’s own source texts to be “anti-Islam”, which is self-evident nonsense. It would make about as much sense as describing the BBC’s documentaries about Jesus as “Anti-Christianity”.
The film’s content comes as a surprise in the West, where, quite simply, the life of Mohammed is not well-known. Hillary Clinton scathingly deplored it: “We reject this video’s content and message. It is disgusting and reprehensible, a cynical film made to denigrate a great religion.”
The BBC’s article is laced with Islam throughout. It uses techniques that work with illiterate listeners thunderously commanded not to ask questions because that can be blasphemy. Muslims are instructed to respect and revere their teacher. The imam, accustomed to controlling the narrative, tells them what to think and feeds them bluff and lies, such as “The Koran has been perfectly preserved,” confident that almost none of them will take the trouble, or even be able, to verify the information themselves. This is a safe assumption for most of the world’s Muslims, because they do not speak Arabic, the language of the sources, although forced to recite it. Consequently, and surprisingly to the West, they do not read or know the Koran, relying instead on their teacher. The assumption does not work with critical Western audiences. The Koran and the Arabic sources have been translated, and are available online. That facility, evidently, has not been used by the BBC’s editors.
The author is completely unaccustomed to seeing film representation of Mohammed, something that Islam discourages by the silencing device of “blasphemy”, backed by killing. He (it is almost certainly “he”) responds by wheeling in Islam’s old canard, the victim-with-hurt-feelings subterfuge. The writer purveys a sense of injured affront attributed to hurtful satire and mockery — which do not exist. This is a decoy strategy, designed to distract the readers, elicit their pity, and forestall any investigation. It is not unlike the deception technique of the skylark, which is ground-nesting. If danger approaches when it is on the nest it deliberately attracts attention to itself by rapidly limping away appearing distressed, trailing an apparently broken wing. When the danger has been sufficiently drawn away from the nest it flies off. Worth noticing here is that Islam’s own teachings flatly deny that Jesus was killed, and that he was, as Christians hold, divine, yet never is there a clergyman claiming to be a victim with hurt feelings. It is a ploy specially used by Islam.
Quite a considerable part of the BBC’s output consists of film versions of written stories, especially historical subjects, including the story of Jesus. They might be expected to defend the artistic capability to make film versions, but apparently not in this instance. Islam’s scholars are proud of their written sources. Islam itself makes much use of film in showing messages from leaders, and scenes of bombings and killings. It is inconsistent of Islam’s leaders to decry the use of film for the telling of their stories.
The real reason for the writer’s pose of being offended is that this film has let the cat out of the bag. Much of the warlord’s unsavoury life-story is normally withheld from its illiterate listeners. That is why — because the film spills the beans — the BBC’s unnamed author gratuitously blackens it as “anti-Islam”. Self-servingly, Islam forbids the mention of anything “impermissible” about Mohammed. Western democracies do not have this biased restriction. Inconveniently for the author, they have what Islam disallows — critical thinking and, for the moment, what is left of free expression.
The BBC’s research shortcomings are disgraceful, and their editorial scrutiny pitifully second rate. The captive licence-fee-paying public deserves better. With all the facilities at their disposal — paid for by the people — they approve a dishonest, inadequate, and manipulative piece. It is tainted hogwash. Shame on the BBC.
“Innocence of Muslims — The Film’s Islamic Sources” is a video by Dr. Jay Smith.
“Revealing The Truth Behind The Mohammed Movie”, an illustrated talk by Usama Dakdok, an Arabic-speaking Egyptian Coptic Christian, is online. These verify that practically all the scenes in the film are drawn from Islam’s own trusted sources.
For previous essays by Michael Copeland, see the Michael Copeland Archives.