"I believe that sometimes those calls for freedom of speech are just the opposite; they are designed to wear the concept thin and take advantage of it with the worst possible motivations. The old line about how yelling 'fire' in a theatre is not an accepted part of free speech applies here," said the American journalist and executive editor of the Salem News website.
Tim King made the remarks after the release of the blasphemous movie in the US which insulted Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and portrayed him an immoral and dishonest personality.
The American-Israeli producers of the sacrilegious movie "Innocence of Muslims" and the US mainstream media defended the movie by claiming that the principle of freedom of speech as "an essential part of the US Constitution" allows the production and releasing of such works.
"I think life is more important than reserving a right to insult religious figures. I also think the heightened sense of betrayal and abuse is compounded by the fact that the US and Israel have created such massive complications in this region of the world. Here in the US there is only freedom of speech for a few," said Tim King.
What follows is the text of Fars News Agency's interview with American war correspondent and journalist Tim King with whom we have talked about the release of the offensive anti-Islamic movie and its international repercussions.
Q: Since the 9/11 attacks and especially after President Bush declared his War on Terror, the anti-Islamic sentiments began to rise in the United States and Europe. What do you think about the role the neo-conservative government of President Bush played in the fomentation of Islamophobic and xenophobic sentiments in the West?
A: Well that brings up the most interesting point that I gleaned from the producer of 'Black Box 911' in Tehran; Mohammad Reza Eslamloo. In the film, he discusses with French reporter Thierry Meyssan of Voltaire, how it is the expected return of the messiah to either Karbala or Samarra, Iraq, that has shaped the thinking and spirit of the US imperialists in gaining dominion and power over these regions of Iraq. We must not forget the continuing US presence there, as we know the Iraq war was unjust and uncalled for. This thought of clearing a landing pad for the new incarnation of a prophet seems logical in a chilling way. Beyond that, the Bush wars were that of an orchestra conductor playing warmonger. He had so much unquestionable power that Americans never did know exactly what to do about it. There were absolutely no good motivations, no good outcomes; nothing was accomplished for Americans or anyone else in the world. In concert with that presidency and that of the first Bush presidency, there was an absolute coordinated effort to turn Americans against Muslim people and with the help of the ever compliant mainstream US media, one false flag story after another was released, of course 9/11 is by and far the largest and most devastating. Bush thought he was leading a new crusade.
Q: Some authors such as Colin Todhunter and Tony Cartalucci have argued that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi was a false flag operation which took place with the complicity of Israel in order to drag the Western world into a new war with the Muslim nations, exactly like what happened in September 11, 2001. One of the questions they ask is that what the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was doing in Benghazi. What's your viewpoint?
A: I had a great conversation last night with Dr. Franklin Lamb in Beirut about this, and he confirmed that he had met Chris Stevens a couple of times. I think Stevens was absolutely a sacrificial lamb, I cannot offer thoughts on what his reasons were for supporting the rebels in Benghazi but Franklin made a great point, however obvious it is, and that is that Stevens was not a policymaker of any type, he was simply a dedicated American who loved the Libyan people and was very likely a pawn in this game. I think it is possible Stevens knew something that would someday pose a problem for higher echelons of American government but that is pure speculation. That isn't necessarily a component of this, however interesting it is.
Just like the murder of Vittorio Arrigoni by Salafists, and the terrible murder of Juliano Mehr Khamis who was reportedly killed by two men (assumed to be Palestinians) on a motorcycle with their faces covered. We have to do what we always do and that is to follow the money trail. Vik and Juliano were not causing grief for the Palestinians, they were not stirring an Arab hornet's nest with their quests to see Palestinians regain their rightful place in the world. Vik's work was a constant reminder for Europeans in particular of Israel's relentless systematic deployment of war crimes and crimes against humanity; the victims always being the Palestinians and their supporters. Juliano was more of a threat with the Freedom Theatre because he added both knowledge and culture to the lives of the refugees in the Jenin camp. Each time these things are blamed on Palestinians, I reject the notion. I believe only Israel benefited. Only Israel had an objective that included an end to Vik and there were outward calls for his death. Like they say, follow the money trail, this one leads to Tel Aviv.
Q: During the recent years, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has been the target of virulent attacks by the enemies of Islam. In 2005, the Danish paper Jylland Posten angered the whole Muslim world by publishing offensive cartoons, ridiculing Prophet Muhammad. Now, once again Prophet Muhammad has come under attack, this time by a filmmaker who has directed impolite accusations against the prophet of 1.5 billion Muslims in his disgusting movie. What's your take on that?
A: I think life is more important than reserving a right to insult religious figures. I also think the heightened sense of betrayal and abuse is compounded by the fact that the US and Israel have created such massive complications in this region of the world. Here in the US there is only freedom of speech for a few. Those who voice an opinion that somehow leads to economic disparity of an individual are taken to court and sued, and often pay large sums as a result of slanderous remarks. So therefore free speech is a structured right and does not apply every time, in every case, and that holds true in the US and far beyond. In this day and age sensitivity is overlooked and forgotten. The movie was strictly an effort to cause what it caused, and two US Marines were killed in retribution yesterday and so many other problems in other places are developing as a result of this ploy.
Q: It has not ever been seen that Muslims insult and ridicule the religious beliefs and values of other religions, including Christianity and Judaism. According to the pillars introduced in the Holy Quran, Muslims have always respected the followers of other religions and no one can bring up an example of Muslims persecuting other believers or calling into question their sacraments. However, the Western media and governments have never adhered to their self-proclaimed policy of religious tolerance. Why is it so?
A: The over-inflated ego is the evil beast that lurks in American hearts. We are conditioned and cultured to believe we are far better than other human beings, which is a false and tragic teaching. Interestingly, some of the most keenly aware Americans with the largest sympathy are those of us who through the military and/or journalism, have spent time in Middle Eastern countries like Iraq and Afghanistan where the American presidents have chosen to wage wars. It only takes a small amount of exposure for an intelligent American to quickly gain respect and admiration of Muslim people living under extreme duress in these places. It is hard not to be impressed, though I suspect that bigoted Americans do not always go this way. One thing Americans do point to is the Taliban's razing of the Buddhist statues, but they are Taliban and not anything else needs to be observed. Those were not the acts of Muslims, they were the acts of radical fundamentalist intolerant types who regularly subjugate and abuse women, which the Holy Qur'an in fact does not call for or authorize in reality, as writer and author Agron Belica who wrote the book, "A Case of Mistaken Identity" has demonstrated through his work. I try to tell Americans about how dedicated Muslims are to God and help them understand that it is all about respect and submission. Some understand, more are jumping on the bandwagon. Lest we forget the embarrassing examples of George W Bush stating that Muslim people, "want to take away our freedoms." The process for turning sentiments against Muslims here is multifold and multidimensional. I think Americans have many lessons that could be learnt from their Muslim neighbors.
Q: The Western mainstream media have systematically tried to portray Muslims as extremist and fanatic people. The recent angry response the Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa have given to the movie "Innocence of Muslims" has smoothly played in the hands of the United States and its allies to claim that Muslims are violent and aggressive, while the reality is that it was the United States and Israel who provoked the anger among Muslims by producing such a disgraceful movie. What do you think?
A: I think you can talk to 20 Americans on the street and at least 19 will not be able to define a Salafist or Wahhabi. They only know 'Muslim' and that is it. They do not understand how Arab nations have sold out to Israel and turned their backs on the Palestinians; or how there are fringe elements that are tiny in number causing problems, because the media stereotypes actions.
They do not understand that every country that has expressed solidarity and support for Palestine has come to meet the wrath of the Israelis, or the Americans and British, or the Christian Druze militias in Lebanon. They fail to recognize the heroism of groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and Fatah in rallying for the Palestinians. The 'underdog' as we say in the US where we are raised to believe in fairness as children, and told as adults, albeit indirectly, to abandon those urges and simply maintain status quo even when it means supporting unjustified military action. So the dumbing down process has been effective but I still really believe it is short-lived because truth is so vibrant and hard to dismiss after time. Much of the problem, the majority of it, is attributed to the cooperation of media and government and those hacks who specifically rally for the conservative republicans. They found the ability to control Christianity in the early 80's with the help of right wing preachers and church leaders. Lest we forget all Americans are raised to see Israelis as 'chosen' and this sets the stage more than anything else for the false justification of these warring acts. Also it is important to remember that the majority of Americans are still in the dark over Israel's undeclared nuclear arsenal of deadly weapons of mass destruction that are pointed at its perceived enemies and number in the hundreds. Americans are the most undereducated modern society in the world.
Q: It's reported that some 100 Jews have funded Sam Bacile in producing his blasphemous movie. What's your analysis of the role of well-off Jews and Zionists in giving rise to anti-Islamic sentiments? What are the roots of Zionists' animosity with Islam and the Muslims?
A: I flash back to the Israeli government-sponsored video that made fun of the dead martyrs from the Freedom Flotilla which our brother Ken O'Keefe was aboard, along with Iara Lee and Kevin Neish and others I have had contact and interviews with. They hijacked the tune 'We are the world' from the 80's and made complete and utter fools of themselves while badly emulating truly great American music. I can't believe the lack of understanding that contaminates their ranks; no American could ever look at the things the Israelis release of that nature and have a positive reaction, regardless of their politics. It is very stupid and highly reckless of Israel, just like killing nine aboard the Flotilla who were unarmed. Again, this leads back to the notion that the Zionists believe they are a cut above the rest of us. I think the problems faced by Christians in the Holy land, highly diminished in number, are exactly the same as those that face the Muslim community and I actually think the apartheid Zionist death merchants would be more against Christians than even Muslims if they faced equal numbers of the two.
So I suppose it is simply the same problem that we have here. Americans think they are better for their own patriotic reasons and because Christians are often taught their way is the 'only way' or the only 'real' or 'good' religion, and Zionists think they are entitled to carry out acts of aggression and steal land because their ancestors were made into slaves. Yesterday a Zionist left a comment of this nature, about the terrible history of the Jews, the way they suffered 1800 years ago, and I had to ask:
Ruvy, I will send flowers on your 1900th birthday, drop me your address. I will never have the experience you have had, suffering all of those hundreds of years, and while you are so damned old! I love it, my ancestors were killed too, they suffered also, what do I get? Do I get to maybe come take your home? Wait, I want to get a dozer first and take down a bunch of homes so my people can build a 'settlement'. There is a book that says I'm chosen, I'm sure, somewhere....
You get the idea. In my world all human beings are created equally and entitled to the same things.
Q: Those who insult the Islamic values and provoke outrage and anger among the Muslims justify their actions by resorting to the excuse of freedom of speech, intentionally ignoring the fact that it's not freedom of speech to insult a divine prophet, it's hate speech and intellectual terrorism. At the same time, they don't allow a thorough and unbiased investigation into Holocaust as if it's a sacred cult. What's your take on that?
A: I believe that sometimes those calls for 'freedom of speech' are just the opposite; they are designed to wear the concept thin and take advantage of it with the worst possible motivations. The old line about how yelling 'fire' in a theatre is not an accepted part of free speech applies here. Even more, who is anyone to talk about inherent rights when human rights violations are taking place daily in clear violation of international law, like the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There is no system to protect life, are words more important? We need a system to enforce human rights laws and speech is not above life. Those excuses simply fit the occasion and Americans, who have far fewer day to day concerns over almost all other people in the world in a general sense, are nearly comatose in their reactions. There is a group, I believe they are working out of Harvard, that is trying to determine a path toward enforcing human rights and international law, this should not be an anomaly but it is, still at least one prestigious institution is involving itself in the process.
With regard to the position of apartheid Israel, I deplore the 'Jewish only roads' and separate courts and laws for Palestinians; younger arrest ages for Arab kids, etc., I think the Zionist argument is ridiculous and incredibly shallow and utterly self-serving. Their ancestors who survived the Holocaust or 'Shoah' are in many cases living in Israel in abject poverty. So when they used the Shoah for an excuse, I ask many questions in return and all I get in most cases, are profanity and insults. The Zionists are running a losing game. I believe it is also important to say that we must be thankful for left wing Israelis who are large in number but largely kept silent, particularly here in the US
Men like Uri Avnery and so many others keep a realistic perspective alive and moving. Gilad Atzmon has set the academic world ablaze with this book, "The Wandering Who?" to no end.
Q: Many of those who offend the Muslims by insulting the Holy Quran or Prophet Muhammad have not even read the words of Quran or the sayings of prophet once to recognize that Islam is a religion of peace, equality and well-being. Why is the Western world so uninformed about Islam and how is it possible to raise public awareness about Islam there?
Well, that is a great question. Yes, that point is true and grows larger when referring to America's rural populations that are largely right-wing and frequently prejudice against those who are not Christians, White and born in America. The sad irony is that so many who support the concept of Israel are in fact bigoted toward Jews. It is very strange indeed. They support war, lament the fact that we have a Black President, and inherently dislike anything they do not understand.
I think it is because Americans making decisions for our future do not want the average person here to know that Muslims by and large, totally accept the existence of Jesus Christ. Jews ridiculed, tortured and killed him, and Muslims accept that he lived and was a Prophet of God. That is a huge piece of missing information here in the United States and once people realize this, they are often profoundly moved. Their sympathy for the plight of the Muslims is viewed in a different light after learning this extremely important fact.
Interview by Kourosh Ziabari