A comment after I had written this piece did raise a point that I had forgotten to address, and a question that many non-Muslims are probably wondering: Why is there such a response in the first place?
For many living in authoritarian countries, the publication of a piece such as “The Innocence of Muslims” is seen more as a reflection of what the entire government and community believes in that country rather than the words, actions and beliefs of a single individual. Furthermore, it is easier for extreme and radical leaders to twist the actions of an individual and say that it represents “The West”, and usually that also means “America”.
For example, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah (the leader of Hezb Allah) publically stated:
“The ones who should be held accountable and boycotted are those who support and protect the producers, namely the U.S. administration,” Source
Whatever you think of the man and his policies, this is a clear illustration of the leadership using the actions of an individual as representative of the “enemy”. This is how you will get people like Haji Samar Gul:
…an 80-year-old protester at the Kabul demonstration who said: "We shouted death to America, death to supporters of America, death to slaves of America."
If you’re source of guidance comes from your local leader and he says to you “check out this insulting video, it was made in America, this is what they think of us and how they treat our religion”…well, you can imagine you’d be feeling pretty put out and pretty keen to start shouting.
It still doesn’t excuse violence though, especially not in Australia. This is just symptomatic of a whole other kettle of fish to do with extremism, the leadership within the communities internationally, and the education levels of those on the street. A little more thought required on this issue…
(Thanks for bringing up this point Emile!)