Friday, February 03, 2006


Lest anybody think that I'm blaming the Europeans for everything, let's consider Muslim anger. Imagine if the citizens of New York City, London, Madrid, Amman, where a bomb in a hotel killed most of the Jordanian members of a wedding party, were to display the standards of Muslim outrage leveled at some unfunny, stupid caricatures in a Danish newspaper. Imagine.
I remember right after 9/11 when the streets of New York were quieted by shock and disbelief, there were some scattered incidents of bullies threatening people who looked like Arabs. They were few and far between and promptly condemned, not only by the media, but by average citizens of every stripe. Pleas for tolerance were immediately unfurled. But we happen to live in an open, pluralistic society.
The problem with fanatical Muslims is that they can't imagine that the rest of the world may be a little sore at them for turning it into a paranoid nightmare where you can't get on a plane without thinking of it slamming into a tall building, or on a subway, metro, bus or tube for fear of dying a horrible death. So excuse me if the cartoons offend your sensibilities. The civilized world is uncomfortable with you and it is afraid of you. Perhaps you should stop your cries of bloody jihad for a second and ponder why.
But then again, many Muslims live and practice their faith under repressive, undemocratic regimes and societies that keep them shrouded in ignorance and poverty. They have not been exposed to the ways of democracy and a free press. Many of those regimes exploit hatred of Israel, the Jews and the West to distract their citizens from their own dismal conditions, further alienating them from the rest of the world, while at the same time boasting hypocritically that they're our allies.
Many of those regimes, like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan or Syria, are themselves in mortal fear of the tide of Islamic fundamentalism threatening their stability (enforced by iron rule) so they let people vent the hatreds that they themselves help fan.

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