Schism, fellow blogger Raed al-Saeed’s response to Geert Wilders’s Fitna has been making the rounds online with more than 130,000 views on YouTube and more than 1500 comments. I think I agree with Prometheus that the idea is good but the execution leaves much to be desired. Nevertheless, kudos to Raed for demonstrating how you can be positive and react rationally to opposing views instead of using violence and threats.

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UPDATE: Al-Watan daily came out yesterday with a ridiculous front page thing about the short film describing it as “provoking to Christians, rejected by Muslim.” They say any response to attacks on Islam should come from the so-called specialists: Sharia scholars blah blah blah. Obviously, terms like citizen journalism or user-generated content are so alien to the dead tree folks. They kept referring to Raed as “someone who claims to be Saudi” and none of those idiots bothered to check his blog or contact him despite the fact that his blog URL is clearly shown in the film, which means that they probably didn’t even watch the film in the first place. There are more stupidity in the article but I don’t have time for this crap.

24 thoughts on “Schism

  1. I can’t believe some of the comments made on YouTube; these people don’t even understand the point of the video. It wasn’t necessarily to condemn Christianity, but to show that you can just as easily pull verses from the Bible to condone violence. Violent, angry people will always find a means to justify their hate.

  2. The difference from Fitna to Schism is simple:
    the author of Schism don’t need protection from the the Christ followers, where the author of Fitna need to be protected from the followers of Allah.

    Raed will never do any movie against Islam because we all know what would happen to him in the Kingdom of Saud.
    Without freedom anything he do is worthless.

    And the citations of the Bible are wrong, because they are descriptive, not prescriptive.
    But this is difficul for a muslim to understand.

  3. Ahmed,
    I think making the short movie “Schism” was an excellent move by Raed, he felt obligated to defend Islam and he acted upon it in a very rational and respectful manner.
    It is true that “Schism” is weaker than “Fitna” in both content and production quality. However, that is fine, given that the two movies have different messages. The message of “Fitna” was to expose Islam as a religion of hate and violence. But the message of “Schism” was merely a reply to show that any holy script could be taken out of context. Which I thought came out pretty clear, except for those who have a prejudgment and do not actually have a true interest in listening. Personally, I do not think such people could be persuaded!

    I see the points you are trying to make, however even if these points make sense to you they might not make as much sense to people from a different paradigm, basically us. The way I see it, your points are flawed, and I will tell you why.

    “the author of Schism don’t need protection from the the Christ followers, where the author of Fitna need to be protected from the followers of Allah.”
    I have three things to say about this:
    1. The author of “Fitna” is a public figure who promoted it for days and days, basically raging war not necessarily a physical one but it is a war. That being said, it is only natural that you would find people reacting more aggressively to him. If it was a random guy who uploaded the movie he will only be getting hate comments, something anybody gets when such topics are opened up.
    2. You have to understand that people in our part of the world are aggressive and too emotional in their nature. An American Muslim brother (follower of allah) would react more peacfully and with much less rage than an Arab or Pakistani Muslim brother.
    3. For decades and decades, the western governments and media has been critical and judgmental of everything our part of the world does and believes in. And this creates a totally acceptable grudge that unfortunately sometime leads to disasters.
    These three points are the reason why I think your statement above is flawed. I hope they help in making it clear that it is not the following of Allah that leads to a need to protect the author of “Fitna”.

    “And the citations of the Bible are wrong, because they are descriptive, not prescriptive.”
    I thought I saw some commands in the citations! Would you please enlighten me and tell me how a command could be descriptive! I know English is not my native-language but to the best of my knowledge a command is prescriptive.

    I hope you can see what I am trying to say. But if you don’t, it’s ok, “This is difficult for Micro to understand”… :)

  4. See, Muslims face the extra pressure of trying to explain to non-muslims of why some extremists Muslims commit acts of violence in the name of religion. “Allah u Akbar” is what so many extremists say before committing violence.
    People committing acts of violence in the West don’t say Jesus is Great before killing others- like the high school shootings. A lot of Muslims like to point out Timothy McVeigh’s bombing in Oklahoma, but they conveniently miss out that he didn’t commit the act in the name of Christianity.

    I mean, how do I tell my non Muslims friends that the people who beheaded Daniel Pearl while shouting out Allah u Akbar on camera is not really “Islam.” As long as we have these extremists committing such acts, shouting out Allah u Akbar with each bullet or killing, we will never remove the idea that Islam and violence don’t go together. Like Abdullah said, Muslims in this part of the world are more aggressive and emotional, and that doesn’t help bring out the right image of Islam as a peace loving religion. (It would be interesting to do a research/ study what makes Muslims in this part of the world so much different from Muslims in the West.)

    Raed did what he did to defend his faith. I am glad he had the freedom to do so. The maker of Fitna is deliberately provoking reactions from the Muslim world, and as 25,000 people protested in Pakistan, a part of me wishes there were some intellectual debate/ dialogue instead of reacting in anger and violent ways all the time (like Muslims getting killed over the cartoon issue!) Even if there are some moderates Muslis trying to engage in a dialogue, we never hear about it!

    Allah won’t help these Muslims till these Muslims help themselves first!


  5. Mansur there is no need to do research and study why Muslims in the middle-east are emotional/aggressive. This is tribalism dressed up as Islam. The connection to Islam is emotional and cultural. After 1400 years of Islam Arabs are still killing their daughters like in the time of Jahiliyyah. You defend Islam by living by it not making movies. I would like to see the plight of Muslims addressed by Muslims once in a while. Millions live in dire circumstances under wars, sanctions, poverty, malnutrition, poor education, lack of water etc. Fixing this is a part of Islam also.

  6. Thank you AbuYusef for pointing out the truth of the matter: “you live Islam by living it…!”

    I agree with you, the Islam we see in this part of the world is Islam with emotional and cultural connections.

  7. I wonder in which library of Saudi Arabia was Raed able to buy the Bible that he later quoted in his video. While you can buy a translation of the Holy Qur’an in any good library in Europe you can’t get a Bible in Saudi Arabia. Raed was quoting a book that is forbidden. I guess Saudi Authorities should question him for possession of forbidden books. This is a crime in Saudi Arabia and he might be punished.

    Besides, quoting fragments of the Old Testament in order to attack Christianity is nonsense. Is like using sentences from the Vedas to attack Islam. He should quote the New Testament instead.

  8. Surprise surprise! Bibles can be found in the country! You just need to know a Christian friend, or if you have the proper contacts, you can go to downtown Jeddah (Balad) and get them from the right shop! Also, you can find Bible quotations over the internet (at least I was able to till 2005 when I left Jeddah) So it’s very much possible Raed got hold of the Bible from someone, or he used the net for the quotations.

  9. Abu Yusef was correct that is why God send the Prophets there.
    Geert Wilders play no rolled in holland parliament, but he could be important if his controversial movie is sale ( if you buy it that means Geerts have wins the media :-).
    Partij voor de Vrijheid is not Liberal party it’s right wings party (the name very confused) , it’s very naturally if they sell popular theme.

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  11. To Crispal, you can legally get the bible in saudi arabia any time,, just contact somebody from the islamic university there and he will bring you any gospel you want,, and if asked just tell them i want to have critical view of it,, what is illegal is that you obtain a bible for religious needs,, “aka worshiping”.

  12. Mansour, thank you for the information. i didn’t know that.
    So, myself, a khawaja, go to the Islamic University and asks for a Bible because I want to have a critical view of it ? Hmm. I rather don’t try that one. I can imagine the answer from the Islamic University staff. Being a khawaja is not always that easy here.
    Besides, how many Bibles do they keep in the Islamic University for people to have a critical view of it?

  13. How should i know e-mail them and ask,, i guess they wont ask if you are a “Khawaja” or not,, will if they replied anyway,, but you can photo-copy

  14. It seems that you all agree on the following:
    “Muslims in the middle-east are emotional/aggressive.” The rest of the world would emphatically agree and it is from this fact that so much misery for the world flows. Allow me to point out that it is the responsibility of Islam, as basically the universal religion, to civilize these unwashed hoards. Thats what religions do. Until Islam lives up to this responsibility and its followers begin to act like responsible citizens of the world, Islam will be seen as it is now: part and parcel of a violent, crazed, suicidal mania.

  15. I watched both pieces. Showing how words can be twisted–very good point. Incidentally, as some other commenters already noted, most of the quotes were from the Old Testament; many, many Jews have spent a fair amount of time trying to reconcile those sections with the concept of peace, with varying levels of success. My approach–look at the Bible as an historical document, reflecting historical mores. There are many who take other views, but hey, it works for me.

    Overall however, I think the film would have been more effective had he kept his focus on the issue of language/Scriptures, and not branched out into trying to parallel the violence portrayed in Fitna. As crude, racist and downright obnoxious as Fitna is, it does address, on some crude, racist and obnoxious level, a prevailing trend in the world today–that people are dying in terror attacks propogated in the name of Islam nearly every day (quite a few in Iraq over the last week). When Schism tries to parallel Fitnas arguments about Islam=terror /violence with a Christian= terror/violence, if falls rather flat. Compare it to the Christianity of a couple hundred years ago? Absolutely. But really not so today. For example-the section with the unidentified soldiers beating up the unidentified rioters(?) Somehow, it pales in comparison to Fitnas’ centerpiece–9/11 or the recent use of the mentally retarded women to blow up a market in Iraq. The section with the kids is another good example. When you have seen photo after photo of children dressed up as suicide bombers, or heard the stories of children or the mentally retarded being used as suicide bombers… to try to offset that with a couple of children speaking about how they want to be part of the Army of G-d comes across as a bit ridiculous. Brainwashed? Arguably. Looking to convert people? Yes–try not to be rude to them when they shove the pamphlets in your face. Looking to blow up another Christian church whose theology they disagree with, or perhaps some nice big building in Dubai? No.

    Or to put it even more simply: Korans and books on Islam can be freely purchased in virtually any major bookstore in any Western country.

  16. There are two differences between Schism and Fitna, Preaching violence is different from committing one. Actions speak louder than words. I am amazed that becuase both religions preach violence, they are equal. No. Islam is actively using violence to pursue its cause, as we saw how Danes all over the world shun publicity. If people in Saudi cant understand that, well, its illeteracy speaking.

  17. I don’t see how counter-criticism helps any. In making this Schism film he is making a point, but also saying that according to him, Fitna was also okay to produce.

    I agree with the poster earlier that (paraphrasing here) taking the high road is better and living out the true nature of Islam (as one may see it) is a much better recourse than simply spitting back at the man that spit at you.

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