Deception, Delusion and Diplomacy

Posted: September 14, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

This is not new, inciting the Muslim world. We all remember incidents in the not so distant past that set a match to the fuse: A book, a film, a cartoon. In fact, anything from the West or Israel that is presented as disparaging the prophet Muhammad will do it. Usually the response includes imams issuing fatwahs, protests, flag burnings and sacking embassies.

The most recent film of this genre was highly successful. It disparaged Islam in such a way that the magic button was pushed. In a digital age when information is passed on with a click, it went viral. First it got ugly. But soon enough ugly turned to tragic; life was taken.

The poser behind the film project was not a Jew, not someone from the West, but rather a shady character from the Coptic Christian community, a transplant in the United States. The minority Coptic community has in fact been broadly persecuted in the Muslim world, especially northern Africa. The culprit wanted payback through a smear. What he got was something bigger and nastier than he may have imagined.

Because Muslims in most of the non-western world do not live in democracies, places where freedom of speech is the norm and protected, they often assume that any slam coming from the West is somehow legitimized by authorized governing authorities. Such is not the case, of course. Any yahoo can put out some derogatory product and we who live in the United States shrug our shoulders and say, “Freedom of speech. I may not agree but he has the right to say it.” That’s how we are all protected, whether what we have to say is rational, fair or inflammatory. But that’s thinking here, not there.

There is no excuse for such violence. But people who want to make trouble know how to pull the pin on that religio-political grenade. That’s why it’s important for our State Department to interpret to those societies that Americans in general and our governing officials in particular do not authorize such religious incendiary language or media products. In a free society they are permitted. That simple fact has to be presented. Just because an idiot pastor decides to have a Koran burning it doesn’t mean that all Americans think that’s a really fine idea or that the governor has declared Koran burning day. Our diplomats must explain such things across the cultural divide.

As for a response, our leaders must remain firm as regards any harming of Americans for any reason. Justice, however defined, will be sought and those responsible punished. The impostor film maker will be exposed and prosecuted. And steady heads will see us through this crisis until the next one takes its place.

Oh, and by the way, our national response in such moments is delegated to our present duly-elected office holders. We have one diplomatic corps, one state department and one president at a time. Those persons are designated for the United States of America. In the height of an election season it is easy to confuse a national emergency with another political opportunity for candidates to take the podium at press conferences. But now is not the time. The world needs to hear a unified American voice. Politicos must resist that inclination.

Has the response of the Muslim street been excessive and indefensible? Of course. But we still don’t know what makes them tick. It’s worth finding out.

  1. Its wonderful as your other posts : D, thanks for putting up. “If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be–a christian.” by Mark Twain.

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