Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Roots of Muslim Rage

Frankly, this column by otherwise steady Daniel Pipes surprised me.  Almost alone among observers from the Right, he argues that:
The movie really did matter...it would be a mistake to see the mob as but a tool of clashing interests (such as Salafis vs. Muslim Brothers in Egypt) or American political imperatives. Rage directed at the video was heartfelt, real, and persistent.
Are you ready for some "heartfelt, real, and persistent" political in-correctness?  Here goes:

First, the only serious rival in this world to western liberal hypocrisy is Muslim hypocrisy.  Ask any (off-duty) American soldier who has served in either Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere in the Middle East for the past 20 or so years about the real nature of the fidelity of most Muslims to the tenets of their faith and be prepared to receive an earful.

Second, while Muslim rage is real, it's a transferred rage.  In this information age, the backwardness of their culture stares them in the face, an ever-present fact they can neither escape nor deny, and it angers them.  Unable, because of corrupt and ruthless leadership, to change their lot in life, they direct their anger, they are led to direct their anger, at the West in general and the US in particular. As a result, any pretense for taking to the streets, real or imagined, is sufficient.

Third, their long-brewing outrage is boiling over now because they sense, because they are correct to sense, Western and American weakness.  Every apology proffered, every olive branch extended, every offer of aid and assistance is viewed as confirmation of their growing suspicion that the object of their outrage is ripe for direct challenge.

However, Pipes also detects, correctly, I think, three trends:
As someone who’s been watching that clash since Khomeini’s time, I ascertain three main trends. First, Muslims increasingly devote themselves to the political imperative of preserving Mohammed’s sanctity. Second, Western governments and elites (i.e., journalists, lawyers, intellectuals, artists) have become increasingly timid over time when facing Islamist fury, willing to apologize, appease, and placate; for one appalling example, see the U.S. embassy in Cairo's effusions on this September 11, as a mob raged outside. Third, Western non-elites have increasingly responded to Islamists with a you-want-to-be-insulted-well-take-this! attitude that includes Koran burnings, "Defeat Jihad" ads, belligerently offensive French cartoons, and a promised rollout of Mohammed movies.
We can still hope, it seems, that pressure from "Western non-elites"--you know, people like you and me--will serve to steel the spines of our mostly supine leaders and inspire them, in spite of themselves, to once again stand erect and fight the fight that has to be fought.

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