Religious tolerance could prevent unrest

Recently, a film was made in the U.S. mocking the prophet Mohammed. This video resulted in riots, and American lives were lost.

Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other embassy employees died in Libya as the consulate came under attack. Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador to die in the line of duty since 1979.

Both President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaigns expressed their regrets after the tragedy, but the incident became a media circus very shortly after the riots broke out. While this episode is an important piece of national news, did it really need to take the step from news to political debate topic and attack fodder?

Both campaigns completely missed the bigger picture of what these riots meant to those who practice Islam. This overseas incident isn’t a question of whether Obama’s foreign policy is strong enough or the attacks were part of a terrorist plot, though those are very important questions; it’s about religious intolerance.

In the U.S. we have freedom of speech. Although this right is great, it can have negative and lasting consequences.

We do not have an official religion in this country. Christians get incredibly uptight when they feel as though their religion is being portrayed inappropriately or that they are being persecuted for their beliefs. For example, “The Da Vinci Code” wasn’t received well by Christians because some considered it blasphemy.

If we feel so strongly about our faith, why would we feel that it’s okay to mock someone else’s? The violence overseas is an inexcusable tragedy, but if people took more time to be respectful of other people and their beliefs, situations like this could be avoided.

Tolerance is going to soothe the hurt feelings of Muslims overseas and return the focus back to the Arab Spring while strengthening international alliances.

Taylor Duckett is a sophomore majoring in economics.