Applying Sociological Theories

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SC1101E: Short Assignment 1
Article: Female bomber kills 12 in Kabul to avenge film (AFP, 2012)

The article highlights the reaction to the release of the film, “Innocence of Muslims” in the United States, which has sparked fatal controversy on a global scale with its anti-Islamic sentiments. There are three main groups of society that this article focuses on – the extremist Christians held responsible, the victimised Muslims, and the governments and state authorities of America and the rest of the world. The reasons for their actions and reactions can be explained using sociological paradigms such as symbolic interactionism and functionalism. The Prophet as a symbol

The reason for the conflict among the two main groups directly involved – the right-wing extremist Christians and the rioting Muslims - lies in their differing perceptions of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. To the former, Muhammad has no religious significance whatsoever as seen in the film where it “shows [Muhammad] authorizing the looting of cities, the raping of women, the taking of slaves, and the sexual assault of children”. (Moubayed, 2012) However, to Muslims, Muhammad is held in the highest esteem as he is the last Prophet sent by God and it was through him that the “the final and complete revelation of the faith was made”. (BBC, 2011) Hence, the polarity in their perception of Muhammad has given rise to this conflict. The film as a symbol - Hate speech or Freedom of expression? The making of this film could be viewed as either provocative speech, but free speech nonetheless, or as an abuse of free speech. The way that Muslims perceive this film may help to explain the varying degrees of reactions from them; some are violently outraged by the provocations while others are more tolerant. Some Muslims who live in conservative environments where speech is heavily scrutinised, may view this as a threat and an insult and therefore have more intense reactions to it. However, those who have been...
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