Samuel Marshall writes from Washington: More Muslim protests and more deaths, this time in Peshawar.
Personally, I blame the Arab Spring for this wave of extremist violence. Because if you look closer at all those supposed ‘democratic revolutions’ in the Middle East and North Africa you would realise that the Islamists came out of them as the biggest winners. And that obviously strengthened their resolve and determination to gain even more ground. And lo and behold, a silly film came up on YouTube and it was a good pretext for the hardliners to beat the war drum and summon the faithful to hit the streets.
As already pointed on this website yesterday, it’s hard to imagine that any of the protesters have seen the film itself. It’s badly made, it’s primitive and, to be perfectly honest, it lacks any coherent message. It could just as well have been ignored altogether and remained in obscurity. But now – as the violence spreads all over the world – the pathetic creation obviously attracts quite a lot of people and has become a sensation of sorts. (If not for the fatwa, the Satanic Verses would probably never have become a bestseller.)
The current crisis is a spin off from the Arab Spring. And there will be more of these unfortunate developments, as Muslim fundamentalists will be trying to use the momentum to achieve more victories. Western diplomacy has failed spectacularly to figure out who was behind the upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa. Sure, it suited some vested interests to dispose of Colonel Gaddafi under the guise of the triumph of people’s power in Libya, but when it came to Egypt and Tunis and Yemen the winners were the people whom the West should have kept as far from political power as possible. Syria is another case where the West has got practically everything wrong and will pay a high price in the end.
And then there is the freedom of expression that everyone is talking about now. Supposedly, this amateurish rubbishy film is an example of the way people in America exercise their right to express their views. But freedom of expression seems to be very selective these days in the West, with atheists having all the rights to mock and ridicule faith while no one seems to be allowed to mock and ridicule atheism. In supposedly ‘religious’ America there is a full-blown war going on against Judaism and Christianity, all in the name of freedom of expression. Any punk these days can safely promote religious prejudice but if anyone tries to go against political correctness he or she can end up in serious trouble.
Some people insist that the violent reaction to the anti-Islam film proves there is a wide cultural divide between the West and the Muslim world. And they are right, of course, only the sad thing is that the West does not really come across as all that superior in this case, with its aggressive atheism that seems to be determined to destroy major religions. No one says that violence is a great thing but blasphemy that is elevated to government policy has nothing to do with progress either. In fact, it is regress.
Another reason why the Muslim world is up in arms against the US and other Western countries is the failure of the Obama Administration to develop a coherent strategy in the Middle East and attempt to start solving the Israeli Palestinian conflict. In fact, compared to the previous US governments the current one has demonstrated total reluctance to tackle the problems that exist in the Middle East. And once Islamists sensed this weakness, they moved in to fill the vacuum, cunningly using the movements for change in their favour. (They now know that the West is a sucker for all those flowery speeches about democracy and freedom and human rights, terms that have been used in the past to commit the most horrible crimes.)
Still, the hope is that maybe some comedians will be drafted to negotiate a truce. How about Jackie Mason?