Constitution Day at B.U., Students Debate on Anti-Muslim Video

As one Youtube video further ignites riots throughout the Middle East, members of the History Club reminded students of their own rights to freedom.

Constitution Day is a national observance every year on Sept. 17, in honor of the day the U.S. Constitution was signed.

Screen-cap from “Innocence of Muslims”

At Bloomsburg University,  History Club members sat down with students throughout the day in order to help them register to vote, hand out copies of the Constitution, and remind students of the rights they are given through the document.

Other activities in honor of the holiday include the showing of Recount, a film depicting the controversial year 2000 election as well as lectures and roundtable discussions.

Many such discussions surrounded the release of the anti-Muslim video to Youtube and the hatred it has spread throughout the world.

The video, “Innocence of Muslims,” is a 14 minute trailer, developed in animosity somewhere in southern California and promoted by a web of right-wing Christians. The trailer was then uploaded to Youtube by Sam Bracile, later to be reproduced twice and translated into Arabic in the days leading up to Sept. 11.

Although the video in question, had been uploaded back in June, it remained unnoticed for months.

Little else is known about the video and its creation. It is also unclear whether a full movie was made, or if the trailer is all that exists.

Although the video remains on Youtube, Google has blocked access to it in Egypt and Libya, two of the countries facing the most violence in the Arab world, according to another article released by the New York Times.

Currently, Youtube’s terms of service state: “‘Hate speech’ refers to content that promotes hatred against members of a protected group. For instance, it is generally okay to criticize a nation, but not okay to make insulting generalizations about people of a particular nationality.”

Matt Albertson, a senior History and Political Science major, was helping facilitate Constitution Day at Bloomsburg University on Tuesday.

When asked if the video should be taken off Youtube, Albertson responded “No, we live in a country where this protects us,” slapping his hand down on a small copy of the U.S. Constitution being given out that day. But do I think it should have been made? I don’t think so. It was obviously linked to the murder of our ambassador. Also, it reflects back on the people of the U. S. and the government.”

With the presidential election drawing near, each of the candidates have weighed in on the repercussions of the trailer.

While the Obama administration implored that this was not a time for politics, Mitt Romney initially responded by saying “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

As to whether the growing violence in the Middle East would affect voters come November, Curtis Bratton, a junior History major, said “I think that it will sway voters negatively. It will reinforce ideas that those who believe in Islam are evil.”

Albertson, however, had a different opinion, saying, “While this is an important issue right now, I don’t think voters will remember these comments. With the information that will be coming out in the next couple months on each of the candidates, no one will remember this when going to the polls in November.”

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Lauren Millahn is a senior Mass Communications major at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. She has a concentration in Public Relations with a double minor in Professional Writing and Spanish. She actively involved in the arts on campus, including the National Honorary Band Society, concert band, and marching band.