Photo Credit: YouTube
Pastor Terry Jones knows a thing or two about drumming up controversy. The Koran-burning preacher has attracted international attention over his involvement in inflammatory activities and his intense rhetoric against Islam. Last month, TheBlaze told you about his latest project, a film called, "The Innocent Prophet," a movie he completed in collaboration with an ex-Muslim named Imran Firasat.
Earlier this week, the full movie, which stretches 71 minutes in length, was released on YouTube. Much like Jones' past projects, the film holds the potential to infuriate Islamist groups across the globe. But because it also takes particular aim at the Prophet Muhammad, even the most moderate of Muslims may take offense.
As previously reported, the name and purpose of the "The Innocent Prophet" mirrors that of the ever-infamous "Innocence of Muslims," which was blamed for widespread protests in the Middle East earlier this year. The connotative connection between the films is intentional, at least in title, message and tone, especially considering that Jones was also a supporter of the "Innocence of Muslims" project.
“We are trying to give a factual life of Muhammad,” Jones told TheBlaze of his new film last month. “His life was one that was pretty perverted in comparison to the life of Jesus.”
The pastor said that Muhammad promoted violence and that, even on his deathbed in 632 A.D., he called for his followers “to cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of non-believers” — something that he contends adherents have done for the past 1,400 years.
Pakistani Muslim demonstrators react beside the portrait of Florida pastor Terry Jones during a protest against an anti-Islam film in Quetta on September 24, 2012. More than 50 people have died around the world in violence linked to the low-budget movie, which mocks Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, since the first demonstrations erupted on September 11. (Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
These sentiments are also captured in an official description that accompanies the film on YouTube. It reads:
The Innocent Prophet is the film that will help Muslims know the true face of Muhammad, as the creator of the false religion of Islam to achieve his own goals. It's time to clear all doubts and accept that Muhammad was not a prophet but was a mobster, murderer, abuser of children and a self-proclaimed prophet.
A warning at the beginning of the movie reads, "Warning: Not Recommendable." Bullet points note that "The Innocent Prophet" shouldn't be viewed by anyone who is underage, by people who don't believe in free expression and by "religious fanatics."
In the first few minutes of the film, Islam is dismissed as a violent and intolerant religion. You can watch the fill 71-minute film, below (caution: disturbing content and themes):
As for Firasat, a Pakistani-born Christian who now lives in Spain, he is facing legal ramifications for his participation in "The Innocent Prophet" (he led the project and is the film's narrator). In an interview with The International Business Times (IBT), he said that the Spanish government has threatened to deport him (an action that he contends could lead to the death penalty for apostasy).
Here's a portion of that dialogue:
IBT: I understand you have postponed the release date. When might be the tentative release?
Firasat: Seven years ago I was granted refugee status in Spain for the reason that I used to criticise Islam. It has been seven years since that I have taken the fight against Islam very far. And my right to freedom of expression was always respected by this great country. But now suddenly for doing the same thing which I have been doing since for the last seven years, I have been threatened by the authorities [and told] that my refugee status will be revoked, I will be deported back to Pakistan where the death penalty for blasphemy is waiting for me and that I may be detained if I continue with the plans to release the movie.
That is the reason I have decided to postpone it temporarily.
While he initially decided to postpone the release (this IBT interview was published Dec. 13), Terry Jones' organization, Stand Up America!, published it on time on its YouTube page on Dec, 15, the release date that was solidified last month.
In the same IBT interview, Firasat was asked why he believes Spanish authorities have gone after him. He expressed surprise and appeared to be dumbfounded over the alleged governmental crack-down:
Firasat: That's a very funny, interesting and surprising question for me even. Why now? I was granted asylum because of my criticisms of Islam. I have formally asked the Spanish government for the prohibition of Koran in Spain. I have given thousands of interviews to radio and TV channels. I wrote articles in newspapers.
But I was never told by anyone that what I am doing is illegal. Now suddenly they try to revoke my refugee status, detain me and prosecute me for offending Muslims' religious sentiments. Why? There may be two reasons: Fear of violence by Muslims abroad and in Spain, and conflicts in diplomatic relations with Islamic countries which are investing in Spain.
All of what [the] Spanish authorities are doing is not according to the law but according to their personal desires. Ministers are human, not god.
Firasat maintains that Spain has changed dramatically during his seven years living there and that his personal rights have been eroded of late. He noted that the nation is not the same as it was when he originally arrived and was granted "complete liberty of expression." You can read the entire interview here.
Now that the film has been released, there's no telling what will happen to Firasat. Furthermore, the reaction within Muslim communities will be intriguing to watch.
What do you think about inflammatory films like "Innocence of Muslims" and "The Innocent Prophet?" Should free speech trump fears over inciting radical factions -- or should this sort of speech be restricted in an effort to save lives? Let us know in the comments section below.