The Muslim world, or Islamic world — or whatever nomenclature one wishes to ascribe to the nations that form 20 per cent of the world’s population — needs to start looking inwards rather than outwards, forever searching for motes in other eyes to which it can react with violence rather than looking inwards to try and deal with its own motes and multiple shortcomings. Frustration is self-destructive and outward violent manifestations simply worsen matters.
These latest eruptions are nothing new but are possibly more widespread and violent. They are helping to boost the few but active Islamophobes that blight the globe. The Muslim world needs to get real, to adopt a bit of realism and recognise things for what they are. Islamophobia has existed for long and will continue to exist, even grow, until the Muslim world comes to grips with itself.
There are and always will be the likes of Terry Jones, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula aka Sam Basile, Steve Klein and such people now associated with this latest vicious, inane and profoundly tasteless example of hatred cum mockery of a dominant religion of the world.
The Terry Joneses of the Western world know exactly what they are doing — they provoke knowing that there will be a violent reaction — which is exactly what they want. And what does the Muslim world do but fully cooperate by giving it to them.
The substandard, deeply offensive film was shown to a private audience in Hollywood in June. There was no reaction. It was posted on YouTube that same month. There was no reaction until September when some provocateur had an Arabic translation made and it was picked up as a ‘cause’ prior to the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
What did the American government have to do with the vicious video? Nothing, other than that the laws of the US are profoundly in aid of freedom of expression. Even if some bright neutral spark had spotted it and realised its potential, little could have been done to stop its dissemination. Islam, which is growing at a steady pace, is always on such occasions proclaimed by its adherents to be ‘in danger’. Well, it is not in any way endangered by insults handed out. Thousands such videos, cartoons or Satanic Verses, etc. can make no dent in the beliefs of the believers. All they can do is further the aims of the Joneses on one side and the equally (in a different mode) vicious Islamists on the other and whip up more hatred against the US — the benefactor of most of the Muslim world.
Muslims must somehow try to see themselves as others see them and do something about it. Stop painting themselves forever as victims of the rest of humanity. When, oh when, will they learn? And just how many members of the protesting destructive mobs have actually seen the film? To hazard a wild guess, maybe one per cent.
From a column in The Wall Street Journal on September 13, titled “Manipulated Outrage and Misplaced Fury” by Husain Haqqani, Professor of International Relations at Boston University and a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute: “As for affronts, the Western mainstream is, by and large, quite respectful toward Muslims, millions of whom have adopted Europe and North America as their home and enjoy all the freedoms the West has to offer, including the freedom to worship. Insignificant or unnoticed videos and publications would have no impact on anyone, anywhere, if the Islamists did not choose to publicise them for radical effect”.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2012.
More in OpinionThe rediscovery of India-Pakistan