"Innocence of Muslims," a recent anti-Islam film that has caused uproar in Libya and Egypt, continues to provoke violence and protests in the Middle East. In the Libyan city of Benghazi, mobs attacked the U.S. Consulate, killing three Americans and the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens.
The film depicts the- prophet Muhammad as a child molester, terrorist and buffoon.
Even positive visual depictions of Muhammad are forbidden in the Islam religion. Humza Qureshi, president of the Muslim Student Association at UK, said that the reaction to the film was both ironic and tragic.
"The person they were claiming to defend set a prolific example in his teaching," Qureshi said. "When he was teaching Islam and spreading the word, he faced mass opposition, ridicule and abuse, but he met it with patience."
Muslims across the world have protested the killing of the ambassador and the violence that's taken place.
"Libyans in Lexington were all shocked and dismayed, because he was a big part of the revolution there and a friend of the people," Qureshi said. "The media's not portraying that."
Qureshi added that he and other Muslims at UK have been exposed to both Muslim and American cultures, which adds to their understanding of the issue.
The Muslim Student Association will seek to educate students this week by passing out pamphlets and talking to students on campus.
The actors and actresses involved with the film were led to believe that the film would be about entirely different subject matter.
"Ethically, do I think it's a terrible practice? Yes. I don't think that you should mislead people in what you're asking them to do," UK journalism professor Mike Farrell said. "But there's no First Amendment issue there."
The producer, who was involved in other legal issues, has used aliases and has claimed to be a supporter of a few different religions.
An investigation will take place to determine whether al-Qaeda used the video as an excuse to attack the embassy.
"It just doesn't seem coincidence that it took place on the 11th anniversary of 9/11," Farrell said. The unrest that has followed since the film's release has led many to ask questions and reconsider the relationship between the Western world and the Middle East.
"The relationship between the Middle East and the Western world is very complex," Qureshi said. "People look at these isolated incidents and take what they want from it, but it's part of a much larger issue than people think."
Nada El Majzoub teaches Arabic at UK and said she is fascinated by her students' passion for learning about the Middle East and Muslim world.
"In my language classes I witnessed wonderful interactions between Arabs and Americans and my very interaction with my American students has been very rewarding," she said. "What is important for us as Arab Muslim students and educators is lead by examples and prove to the world that terrorism is not what defines Islam."
On a larger scale, she said it is important that the U.S. government know if it is building tolerance and cross-cultural understanding with the Middle East.
"If I may refer to (Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton, she asked why a US ambassador was killed — which I strongly condemn — in a country they have liberated," El Majzoub said "I answer her with another question: Were you really thinking about liberation, and only liberation when you helped the Libyan people? If yes, what about Syria?"