Mindless cooperation

Published: September 22, 2012

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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.

Reader Comments (18)

  • Mirza
    Sep 22, 2012 - 1:16AM

    AJ, I have been a strong critic of your Op Eds, particularly those which are inflammatory against the (relatively) secular and elected govt. However, with this Op Ed you have hit the home run! I would not change a thing at all.
    You are correct that most people did not see the video or did not know about it including me. After all the violent reaction, I had to watch this sleazy and crude clip and it is not worth to go crazy and make the originator happy and rewarded for his hate mongering.
    Thanks for an Op Ed that is dealing with the current issue and not maligning the elected govt.

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  • Genius
    Sep 22, 2012 - 2:18AM

    “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”.
    How very wonderful and well said are the above words.
    The best thing to do is in such cases is to completely ignore the barking dogs. Why do people calling themselves Muslims not obey Lord’s edict which is ” Seek strength throough patience and prayers” while confronting such provocations.
    By reacting the way they do they are simply encouraging more and more of the non decript to do such things to get some “kick” out of it.

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  • Kashif
    Sep 22, 2012 - 2:29AM

    @Mirza.. I agree with the writer but the current government deserves to criticised for its utterly poor performance at a magnitude of a level.

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  • John B
    Sep 22, 2012 - 2:30AM

    Until the Muslims stop classifying humanity us Vs them, the conflict of minds will continue.

    The present conflict is not new. It is the same conflict that brought forth Suffism, din-ila Hi, Sikhism, Bahai and Ahmedian faiths centuries ago wherever Islam went.

    I am yet to see the Muslim community standing up for others other than themselves, and those who understood the conflicts of mind are gripped in fear of persecution and either live aloof in closets or escaped to the lands where they can find solace of mind.

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  • Cautious
    Sep 22, 2012 - 3:01AM

    Nice op ed – only thing that would make it better is a justified jab at the current govt which should have stood tall and made a similar public speech.

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  • Salim Ansari
    Sep 22, 2012 - 4:20AM

    Along with religion Islam – south asia muslims have also become copies of Arabi people like too emotional and not thinking and tribal approach. Shameful. We have civilisation for 1000s years before civilisation started in Arabic area. We have to do thinks like people having long duration civilisation.

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  • Ejaaz
    Sep 22, 2012 - 4:39AM

    Amina Sahiba writes: “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.”

    And then contradicting it quotes Haqqani: “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”.

    The much maligned Terry Jones and others are not provoking. They are not even talking to the Muslims of the world. They are talking to their own minuscule sect within Christianity. They do not know enough to provoke. The movie was available for over a year. It was a flop. No one cared. It came to notice when the Salafis decided to publicise it and bring notice to it to coincide with the 911 anniversary in US. They are the ones who got the effect they were seeking. The pro Iranian parties joined in against the Great Satan. So who is the real criminal here? To publicise the insult against the Rasul by the so called Muslims, or some stupid idiots who actually said the insults that were ignored by the world for over a year? Do Muslims really think that the non-Muslims who are treated like dirt in the Muslim world (copts in Egypt, christians and hindus in Pakistan, etc.) do not insult the Rasul in anger or frustration in the privacy of their homes? But no Muslim cares. How about making our conduct and our countries where there is no need for anyone to insult our Rasul? Or is that too difficult for the gung ho Muslims of today to understand?

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  • ahmed41
    Sep 22, 2012 - 8:44AM

    ~~~~and all this self-inflicted violence has resulted in deaths. Those who have died will be nameless and forgotten.

    Protest i can understand ; but harming oneself is being thoughtless.
    If Muslim sentiments are hurt , no doubt.
    However Islam is a universal religion meant for all citizens of the modern world , therefore
    the feelings of Muslim peoples is to be given a second preference to the priorities of the image of Islam as a religious system worth following by *ALL Mankind *

    Muslim societies must not be selfish in this matter~~~~~leave the reaction of insults to
    religion , to GOD.

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  • revo
    Sep 22, 2012 - 9:59AM

    and what about “holocaust” Madam ?
    they don’t allow to talk about that

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  • Indian Wisdom
    Sep 22, 2012 - 11:41AM

    @Amina Jilani
    Beautifully written.
    I second “Mirza” , nothing more is needed to be added.
    Self critical awareness will resolve these sort of challenges posed in the globalized world…….

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  • Zalim Singh
    Sep 22, 2012 - 12:06PM

    Dear Amina

    excellent article. I hope more people in Pakistan have your outlook.

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  • Thoughtful
    Sep 22, 2012 - 2:29PM

    @revo:
    Holocaust denial is not illegal in the US

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  • Parvez
    Sep 22, 2012 - 3:53PM

    The protests in Pakistan and holiday given by this inept government and the resulting destruction was more politicaly driven with religion being the excuse for it.

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  • Amit
    Sep 22, 2012 - 6:58PM

    well put. Articles like these and Husain Haqqani’s piece in WSJ can hopefully help people cut through the side tricks and focus on the real issue of the use of political Islam by extremists for spreading violence and mayhem.

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  • Cautious
    Sep 22, 2012 - 10:09PM

    @revo

    and what about “holocaust” Madam ?
    they don’t allow to talk about that

    Another Muslim myth perpetuated by numerous erroneous comments like yours. There are hundreds and perhaps thousands of articles/books/speeches readily available on holocaust denial in the USA. Harvard had a nice study on this topic published in 2010 which is readily available in pdf form with a simple Google search. Biased people rarely let facts get in the way of there bias — use Google and break that trend.

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  • antanu g
    Sep 22, 2012 - 11:34PM

    @Cautious:
    almost all the Europe has law against expressing anything against holocaust. go and check your facts

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  • Hello1
    Sep 26, 2012 - 12:34AM

    An analytical and excellent piece of objective writing. However, the opinion of a turncoat like Hussain Haqqani, who poses to be holier than the Pope and more loyal than the King, carries no significance.

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  • politically incorrect
    Oct 13, 2012 - 10:30AM

    @Ejaaz

    Great post.Well argued.

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