Monday, February 20, 2006


Three articles published in the last week offer interesting insights into what many have called the “clash of civilizations” between the partly secular West and the intensely religious Moslem world.

First, on the clash.

Among the ranks of the neoconservative movement, the “clash of civilizations” view is quite popular. Neoconservatives who hold with this belief may be discomfited to read their view is shared by Bill Maher:

“Anti-Muslim Cartoons are a Riot”

Maher opines: “I have to admit: part of me is glad we're seeing the cartoon riots. They serve as a great reminder of what we're up against. Plus, sometimes it's just nice to see angry Muslims burning someone else's flag for a change. And all this over a cartoon… These riots really do remind us that, in some ways, this really is a clash of civilizations. One photo in particular caught my eye, one of a dark-skinned man holding a sign that read, "Freedom: Go to hell!"”

Such agreement among people so otherwise diverse may suggest “everybody” is right… Or wrong…

The question that must be answered, if one is to accept the “clash of civilizations” position is, who is really represented by the contending parties? Is this really, as hatemongers like Anne Coulter insist, a contest between “the ragheads” and the modern world? Or is that a simple view for simple minds?

Supporting that view, from AP:

“Muslims Assault U.S. Embassy in Indonesia”

Another in the long series of violent and even deadly protests by enraged Muslims throughout much of the world…

Much, but not all…

A different perspective is provided by an article in the February 18 New York Times, which chronicles a protest of a different sort - a protest which, the Times aside, has received very little mention in any press:

“More Than 1,000 Protest Cartoon Depiction of Prophet”

“More than 1,000 Muslims gathered yesterday for a rally and prayer session across the street from the Danish Consulate in Manhattan, protesting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have set off a series of violent demonstrations around the world since their first publication in Denmark… In a program that lasted several hours, the speakers talked about the responsibility that comes with free speech and their reverence for the prophet to a peaceful crowd that included families with small children and student groups.”

No riot, no arrests… Not even a burning GWB effigy. All in all, more peaceful than the average anti-abortion rally… Or anti-war rally…

In the classic work “The Foundation Trilogy,” Isaac Asimov noted “violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” The contrast provided by these two protests suggests an expansion: Violence is the last refuge of the powerless, the frustrated, the dispossessed. As a different kind of philosopher once noted in song, “when you got nothin’ you got nothin’ to lose.”

Riots – whether they are racially inspired riots in Los Angeles or religiously inspired ones in Jakarta – have two things in common: Their primary victims are the rioter’s own communities and opportunities, and the tinder in which their spark kindles is the detritus of despair.

Our leaders insist we are fighting a war against terror. I disagree. It isn’t a war against terror. It’s a war for hope. Once this Nation fought for things instead of against them. When we did, we were invincible. So conquer we must if our cause it be just…

Fail we will if it isn’t…

Not to be flippant, but are you channeling Yoda here?

So conquer we must if our cause it be just…

Fail we will if it isn’t…

Sorry, couldn't help myself...

But to be serious:

There is a hard core group among the Muslims that believe that since God is on their side, then, obviously, satan must be helping te rest of the world have a better life than most muslims enjoy.

It can't possibly be the fault of this core group, dragging the rest of Islam down.

There are fanatics everywhere, but these guys make the Spanish Inquisition look like a Monty Python skit... Well, like THE Monty Python skit.

It's always easier to blame other people, than to look yourself in the mirror.

What shocks me is that Muslims who moved to western countries, and thrived there, are NOT standing up to the rabble rousers. The Rabble being those that have not been able to compete in the western world...

Many of us believe that we ARE fighting FOR something - freedom of religion, freedom to choose, not only for us, but for Muslims as well.

No matter what the motivations of those that took us to war, that is the effect.

And, as I have said before, no matter what we do; even if we fold up the tents, and create Fortress America; they will come for us. Their view of Islam REQUIRES it.

Not sure why some people can't, or won't see that...
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