Friday, February 03, 2006

Extremist Watch, Part 2

It's just so stupid, is it not? Imagine the level of neo-medieval backwardness that must fill the minds of chanters who would actually call for the deaths of innocent people over the publication of a cartoon.

Yet watching the coverage of this hissy-fit over Muhammed, that's exactly what I've seen. It's now spread to London. And this is London, remember, not the West Bank or the streets of Tehran. Here's what I've been able to pick up just watching the CBC's coverage:

"I'm a Christian, and people make fun of God all the time, I don't go out declaring Jihad."
- British citizen watching the London protests

"To hell with free speech!"
- Protesters in front of Danish embassy in London

"What do we want? Jihad! When do we want it? Now!"
- Chanting protesters

"Spain - learn from 3/11"
- Sign held by protester

"Europe - learn from 9/11"
- Sign held by protester

"Death to those who insult Islam"
- Sign held by protester

"Behead those who insult Islam"
- Sign held by protester

And from some other sources:

"Kill, kill Denmark"
- Protesters chanting

"7/7 is on its way"
- Chanting demonstrators, invoking the July 7 bombings

"Kill anyone who insults the prophet"
- Banner held by demonstrators

And that's just the stuff that showing up in the streets of developed, tolerant London. Let's go to other parts of the world:

"Long live Islam, destroy our enemies!"
- Protesters outside the Danish embassy in Malaysia

"Death to Denmark", "Death to France"
- Protesters in Islamabad

"Whoever defames our prophet should be executed."
- Protester in Ramallah

Also notice how the British foreign secretary is calling for people to stop printing the cartoons, because god forbid it might upset some oversensitive bomb-throwers. Political correctness trumps free speech, remember. He refers to the cartoons as "inflammatory", to which I say, "bullshit". Only the neurotic and self-loathing inferiority complexes of a bunch of crybabies and whingers could turn "dumb" into "inflammatory", and only those same people could turn "inflammatory" into actual, literal flames.

Now, there are sane, rational Muslims out there. So I ask - where are they? Why are they never present when things like this happen? Perhaps they fear the fate of Salman Rushdie, who had a death sentence issued against him for criticizing Islam. Regardless, they have a duty to not merely their faith but to themselves and to their dignity to stand up collectively and say that they will not abide this kind of extremism in their communities. They have not done this yet, and the reason for that is simple - there are many of these extremists in all Muslim communities, enough of them that they can fill the streets of London at the drop of a hat, or cause Paris to shut down for a few weeks if they get a little rowdy. When there are that many extremists living amongst you - perhaps even with you - it becomes more difficult to speak out against them.

But they have to. This is a clash, alright, and in addition to an inter-civilization clash, it is an intra-civilization one. The soul of Muslim communities all across the civilized world is at stake, and if the rational, sane ones allow the bloodthirsty extremists to be the face of their communities, they have no one to blame but themselves when there is anti-Muslim backlash.

And yet as I'm watching CBC coverage of it last night, Raheel Raza, a moderate Muslim and author of "Their Jihad is Not My Jihad", the perfect person to speak out against the extremism, was on. Yet instead of attacking the extremists, she instead attacked the newspaper editors. Ah yes, blame the ones who dare practice free expression - it's all their fault. It has nothing to do with a sickness at the heart of Islam, a sickness called extremism, and a sickness that is being all but ignored by the moderate Muslim community. The message, from people like Raza, and Secretary Straw in Britain, is that we should just learn to live with these extremists, as many moderate Muslims seem to have, and simply restrict what we say so as not to incite them to riot - sometimes going so far as to censor Winnie the Pooh's Piglet in British government buildings because Piglet is offensive to Islam (do we all remember that?). Just walk on eggshells and make sure we don't piss them off by doing something outrageous like publish a harmless cartoon, lest the bomb and beheading threats start up anew.

I refuse to live in that kind of society. I will say what I want to say, and if I owned a newspaper would publish what I damn well pleased. If, "To hell with free speech" is their rallying cry, mine is the opposite.

I expect people will not be entirely receptive to what I have written here. That's fine - it goes to prove my point, really. Our society has been brainwashed, it seems, into believing that we must be tolerant of everything to the point of tolerating intolerance. I make no apologies for what I have said here. Islam - yes, Islam, as a whole - must clean up its act, and make it clear that these extremists have no place in their religion or their communities. Until that happens, it is not bigotted or intolerant to say that Islam is, on the whole, deserving of the attitudes it garners from us western infidels.


At 2/03/2006 4:26 p.m., Blogger Red Tory said...

Well, I happen to agree with you. There is far too much accommodation to the ever-so delicate sensibilities of Muslims in my opinion. The same might be said of Christians. Look at the recent “War on Christmas” bullshit that was all over the media leading up to the holiday; an ideological train wreck that also brought into focus some of the politically correct hypersensitivity that secular progressives are notoriously famous for. That said, I also think that these caricatures went out of their way to intentionally provoke a hostile reaction and also tapped into some deep-seated prejudice that is latent in many European societies.

So in other words, there is plenty of stupidity to go around. Free speech is not always a pretty thing.

At 2/03/2006 8:24 p.m., Blogger Dylan said...

I have to agree with Red tory when he said "these caricatures went out of their way to intentionally provoke a hostile reaction and also tapped into some deep-seated rjudice that is latent in many European societies"

You can draw a picture of Mohammed if you want and publish it, that's fine. But it is the fact that they put a turbin on him that looked like (and implied it was) a bomb. What kind of reaction do you expect? Is it an over-reaction? Yes.

Just because newspapers make fun of the Christian God and the Trinity, does not mean it is right. It is disrespectful. If we wish for Islam to respect the West then the West should respect Islam. That does not mean excluding it from criticism, but criticism that is healthy and encourages dialogue, not hostility.


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