American Enterprise Online
February 8, 2006
By Alan W. Dowd
In Beirut, they attacked a church, ransacked the Danish diplomatic mission, burned the flag of Denmark, beat up a Dutch photographer because he looked Danish, set fire to flags emblazoned with crosses, and left 21 policemen injured.
In Gaza, they raided offices of the European Union. In Yemen, they took to the streets to demand a boycott of Danish goods. In Egypt, they removed Danish products from stores. In Kuwait, they called on the government to initiate an oil embargo. In Baghdad, they burned the Danish flag.
In Damascus, they set fire to the diplomatic missions of Denmark and Sweden. In Tehran, they hurled fire-bombs at the Danish embassy. Four are dead and several wounded as a result of their rampage through Afghanistan.
In Bangkok and Jakarta, they ringed the Danish embassies and demonstrated. In Copenhagen, they marched in the streets and shouted angry slogans.
So who are they? And why are the so angry? The first question is far easier to answer than the second.
They are Muslim mobs, and they point to a cartoon mocking the Muslim prophet Mohammed as justification for their rage. A cartoon.
In one sense, their outrage is pitiful and pathetic because it is an indication of how little they understand freedom—and how deformed their societies are thanks to corrupt, unaccountable governments. The Muslim mobs simply do not understand that in free countries—indeed, in most of the world—governments don’t tell cartoonists what they can draw, what they can or cannot satire.
But pity has its limits. In a much larger sense, their outrage is an outrage. After all, in places like Damascus and Tehran, crowds can do nothing without the government’s permission.
Plus, it pays to contrast this cartoon jihad with the Muslim street’s reaction to other events—and perhaps more importantly, with the reaction of other faiths to much more grievous examples of religious insensitivity.
Did Jews rampage through Beirut or Damascus when scores of synagogues and cemeteries were defaced in Europe? Did rabbis use the Sabbath to frenzy the faithful and let them loose on Arab embassies? Did Jewish teens hurl Molotov cocktails at mosques of opportunity? Do mobs of angry Jews rise up every time some newspaper in Europe or the Middle East slurs their faith?
Do Christians pick up machine-guns when the cross is dipped in urine or Jesus is depicted as a coward or luster or liar? Did Christendom take to the streets when a British newsman mocked the Christian faith of Tony Blair and George Bush? And what about specific Christian denominations? Do Catholics burn buildings when priests or popes are stereotyped or smeared? Do the Amish lay siege to movie theaters that play films mocking their faith? Do Evangelicals fire-bomb newspapers that dismiss them as bigots and backwards?
Did Buddhist mobs torch the embassies of Muslim nations when the Taliban dynamited ancient relics of their ancient faith?
Speaking of the Taliban, where were these Muslim mobs when the Taliban’s holy men turned Afghanistan into a medieval torture chamber? Where were they when a school in Russia was turned into a bloodbath by Muslim gunmen? Where was the outrage when a Muslim suicide-bomber turned a Seder meal into an execution? Where were the protesters when Muslims tossed grenades into a Palm Sunday service in Pakistan?
Did they descend on Kandahar or Kabul to voice their righteous outrage on September 11? Did they take up arms to prevent or punish March 11 in Madrid or July 7 in London? Did they protest or prosecute the Muslim-on-Muslim megacrimes of Saddam Hussein or Hafez Asaad or the Taliban or the Saudi monarchy or the Sudanese or the Ayatollah? Where are they now, as their brethren try to limp toward freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan? And when did this Muslim mob last protest Zarqawi or bin Laden?
To borrow a phrase, perhaps it’s time for Islam to forget about the speck in its neighbor’s eye and to finally deal with the plank in its own.