Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Writing in Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat, Ahmed Al-Rabei argues that the fanatics who torched the Danish embassy are “the worst of all defenders.” And, he adds,

What was the significance of burning the Danish flag in the West Bank? What have the Danish community in the Palestinian territories done except to care for the sick and help the needy children of that region? We must differentiate between those Danish volunteers who left their homeland to help the disadvantaged and those lunatics who drew immoral caricatures that represent nothing but racism and a deep hatred.

Meanwhile, in Al-Bayane, Ahmed Zaki warns against escalation, and calls for peaceful discussion. He also argues that Islamists are using the cartoons as an excuse to rail against “the West” as a whole:

Cette escalade, qui vise pour certains a accrediter la theorie du choc des civilisations, cher aux integristes des deux bords, n’est pas de bon augure et ne peut mener qu’a l’exacerbation des passions, des ressentiments et des incomprehensions. Le monde musulman ne doit pas se laisser entrainer dans les voies sinueuses semees de haine et de violence au moment ou il doit faire face aux defis de la democratisation et du developpement, en evitant de considerer que tout ce qui se trouve en Occident lui est hostile. Car telle est la these favorite des theoriciens de l’extremisme islamiste qui sautent sur l’occasion presente pour denigrer les valeurs de tolerance et de coexistence entre les peuples de religions et de cultures differentes et forcement non identiques. Si debat il doit y avoir, il doit rester digne et ne pas faire l’amalgame qui consisterait a mettre tout l’occident dans le meme sac.

There’s a lot more along these lines. Not that you’d know about it from headlines like: Muslim Anger Over Caricatures Grows.

Meanwhile, an Iranian newspaper is loudly proclaiming its right to bigotry under the cover of freedom of speech.

Iran’s biggest-selling newspaper has waded into the Muhammad controversy by launching a competition to find the 12 “best” cartoons about the Holocaust.

Farid Mortazavi, graphics editor for Tehran’s Hamshahri newspaper, said that the deliberately inflammatory contest would test out how committed Europeans were to the concept freedom of expression.

“The Western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let’s see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons,” he said.

This is insane. Escalating the hate is only going to make things worse. Doesn’t it make you want to become a hermit and get away from the bigots of all stripe?

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