CLEVELAND - As the world reacts to a low budget film filled with insults at Muslims, Muslim Americans in northeast Ohio have dozens of questions.
It isn't clear who is behind the film, but the Innocence of Muslims is getting international attention. At CAIR, the Council for American Islamic Relations in Cleveland, it's opening a dialogue.
"It is so degrading and so insulting to everything that the prophet, peace be upon him, and the Muslims stand for, that you can only react to it with disgust and hate," said Shehadeh Abdelkarim, who serves on the board of directors at CAIR. He's also a past president, and president-elect at the Islamic Center of Cleveland. "That's what's driving some of the people in the Middle East."
YouTube clips show Islam's prophet Mohammed as a fraud and womanizer. The video has been blocked in Egypt and Libya after waves of violence. The violence does not following the teachings of Islam.
Some say the protests are not a political or religious reaction to the film, but one of human nature in hot spots for instability.
"Their emotions are high and the streets are wide open. And since they've been oppressed for so long, it's easy to just focus your energy on this devil that showed up that you want to go after," said Abdelkarim.
"Imagine we have the Browns playing the Steelers and we give all the people that come to the game weapons. What do you think?" said Ramez Islambouli, a professor of Islamic studies and Arabic language at Case Western Reserve University. "There is going to be a riot and shooting."
In a noon prayer meeting at an eastside mosque, Muslims pray for peace: the goal of Muslim life.
They say whoever made this film, his motive was hate.
"What that movie was not, it was not an expression of American values. It was an expression of his values," said Khalid Samad, a member of the Shurah Council, a board representing dozens of mosques in the greater Cleveland area.
"They are bringing hardship on the whole nation. So those people who are doing this, they are not true Americans," said Imam Yusuf A Ali, who leads services at Masjid Al Warithdeen.
Muslims say they hope this can be a teaching moment, since it's likely not the last attack on Islam.
They say their outreach here in the community will overwhelm this evil, and they'll do as their religion teaches them to respond to insult with a smile.