I mean, what better way to show that you're not a radical and extremist group of believers with a penchant for ultra-violance and the destruction of non-believers than to torch embassies, kill innocents, and publish cartoons about one of the worst episodes of genocide in history? Finding offense in everything from some silly cartoons (some of which have been proven to be laughably fake) to swirly graphics on top of a carton of ice cream really shows that you've got things together and should be taken seriously. (Note that I'm referring to the radical believers which are taking these radical steps, not the religion - and yes, there's a difference.)
(Reminds me of Charles Manson showing up to parole hearings with a swastika carved into his forehead.)
I was watching Charlie Rose on Thurs night and was astonished at the slant put forward by the Al Jazeera (or perhaps it was the CAIR) representative. He was decrying the fact that the cartoons were just the last in a long series of caricatures of Middle Eastern characters, with the primary stereotypes being that those from the region are oil-rich princes, terrorists, misogynists, and backward. He was saddened that the media (from the news reports to hollywood) didn't show the wonderful familial bonds in the Middle East (although there are horror stories here to be sure), the historical achievements of the Middle East, the true tenents of Islam, etc. Well, unfortunately, until the radical believers stop playing to type, the stereotypes will continue - and it is unfortunate, because it really does make discussions with the "moderate" Muslims almost impossible, as they immediately seek the mantle of victimhood and become defensive of their radical brethren.
And the cult of victimhood (which presumably is the rationale for the ultraviolent response to any controversy) is a major problem in itself. Until the Middle East looks internally to the causes of their current state of affairs, it's unlikely that much will improve. As one of the publishers in Denmark commented, publishing these cartoons gives a level of respect to the Islamic faith and its adherents, since he is treating them in a similar way to other religions. Other news outlets have been unwilling to demonstrate this equality - presumably because they have a lesser opinion of the Muslims when compared to believers of other faiths, essentially the soft bigotry of low expectations applied to religion.
Hugh Hewitt has requested that any blogger commenting on the subject should answer these two questions, so here are my responses (in bold):
Are we at war with Islam? no
Do you want a war with Islam? no
We are not at war with Islam... and we shouldn't want a war with Islam. However, we are at war with a segment of believers which have declared war on us and others who do not share their views. As I mentioned above, until the moderate Muslims (from the Al Jazeera rep to the CAIR rep) stop defending the indefensible and taking on the mantle of victimhood, it is difficult to clearly delineate whether the radicalization of Islam is structural and fundamental to its teaching or whether it is a bastardization of a peaceful religion with a strong traditions. I hope that we will be able to prove the latter, but without the assistance of Muslims themselves, many will be quick to paint the whole of Islam as the former.
I post the following questions (H/T to MVRWC)-
Is this offensive?
How about this?
Finally, I just wanted to pose this question which I asked a few days ago. What are these riots meant to accomplish? Other than playing into the hands of those that view the entire Islamic faith as a violent and aggressive religion seeking to dominate the world? Because, it's tough to play the "victim" when you've got a molotov cocktail in your hand...
ARC: St Wendeler