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Men Behaving Badly in the U.S. and Egypt

September 19, 2012

Symbol for symbol–Egyptians respond to the videotape by tearing down the U.S. flag.

A passionate article by Mustafa Bayoumi entitled “Men Behaving Badly” sees the “Clash of Civilizations” expressed in the “Innocence of Muslims” video and the US embassy attacks as something deliberately created by a handful of Islamophobes in the U.S. and Islamists in Egypt, who hate each other but operate symbiotically to create issues like the current storm.

The sequence of events, he points out, is this:

  1. The Innocence of Muslims, an amateurish 14-minute video, is produced by a Coptic Egyptian-American named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who initially claimed to be “an Israeli American” named Sam Bacile, and
  2. The video was originally posted months ago on YouTube with no significant outcomes.
  3. It suddenly began to draw attention when the Islamophobic Coptic American activist Morris Sadek e-mailed hundreds of journalists and associates a link to the video (and posted it on his website) in connection to an “International Judge Muhammad Day” organized by Pastor Terry Jones, scheduled for September 11, 2012.
  4. The video first made it onto Egyptian airwaves on September 8, 2012, when Sheikh Khalid ‘Abdallah, known for whipping up sectarian tensions, screened parts of it on his al-Nas program and called for protests.
  5. On September 11, thousands showed up at the US embassy, including a strong representation of salafis and bunches of ultras, hard-core sports fans who are politically far away from the salafis but who look for opportunities to clash with police.

Bayoumi writes:

what is happening now combines the fulminations of the American far right with the salafi news media that takes their bait. In this case, the two may be doctrinal and political opposites, but their attraction to each other is nonetheless magnetic. Both are interested in fanning the civilizational fires that have been burning for at least the last 11 years, and smoldering for much longer. And with today’s technology, it has become child’s play — and will only get easier — to produce and distribute bilious speech that can and will have deadly consequences. The Islamophobes in the United States and the ultra-religious right in Muslim-majority countries need each other to survive. Each confirms to the other the need for his own existence. To the Islamophobes, all Muslims are extremists. The provocations Islamophobes produce are designed to elicit the very images we see. To the Muslim far right, all Westerners harbor a deep-seated anti-Islamic sentiment and the anti-Muslim provocations supply ample evidence of the inner, hateful workings of the Western mind.


Bayoumi, Mustafa. 2012. Men Behaving Badly. Middle East Report and Information Project. [accessed 19 Sept. 2012]

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