The Prophet Armed

Following on from Tim's post below, Egyptian liberal commentator Mona Eltahawy was onto the Danish cartoon story last week, just as the tsunami of opprobrium hit the world's Muslim communities. She's not impressed with the reaction of her coreligionists.

As interesting, if from a contrary perspective, was the statement of Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Lebanon's Hezbollah, who regretted that Salman Rushdie had not been killed over the Satanic Verses, as that would have had a splendid deterrent effect on the hapless Danes. Remember that in reading David Ignatius' latest column on Nasrallah, where he talked about, well, democracy.

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    "One reason for this hostility is that U.S. administrations for decades have always supported dictatorships in the Islamic world," Nasrallah explained. "The people of the Muslim world have held the U.S. responsible for what these governments did. I can assure you that to allow democracy will begin removing the barrier and the well of hatred against the U.S. But the real thing is to deal positively with the outcome of the elections."

    When he says "allow democracy" here, what do you think he means exactly? Does it mean establishing diplomatic relations with terrorists if and when they come to power? Does it involve supporting terrorist states?

    "There's one more matter in which Nasrallah agrees with the Bush administration -- in his view that al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab Zarqawi is fanning Sunni-Shiite tensions. "I believe the most dangerous thing we confront is the so-called Zarqawi phenomenon," he said. "This is a creed of killing without any responsibility -- to kill women, children, to attack mosques, churches, schools, restaurants." The issue in Iraq, he said, is "how to stop the killing."

    The creed of killing without responsibility, now where do you think that came from? ...and who, exactly, was responsible for murdering hundreds of American marines in 1983?

    "The Bush administration's campaign for democracy has produced an unlikely cast of winners -- Hamas in Palestine, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Shiite clerics in Iraq. To that list must be added Hasan Nasrallah, who may prove to be the cleverest and toughest of them all."

    So can we say, now, that the Bush Administration is objectively pro-Hamas, objectively pro-Muslim Brotherhood and objectively pro-Hezbollah?

  • ||

    Must we really boycott Danish products, as one e-mail I received exhorted?

    Ms. Eltahawy is free to do whatever she wants. Those who decided to boycott Danish products did so on their own. What's the problem here? If I was offended by what a newspaper published, I would rather boycott those who advertise in that newspaper. But, hey, isn't that what free well mean?

    Here are a few facts we should remember. However offensive any of the 12 cartoons were, they did not incite violence against Muslims.

    Depicting the prophet of one's religion as a suicide bomber does not incite violence against members of said religion? I doubt that.

    In October 2002, Abdullatif was found guilty of distributing racist propaganda after Hizb-ut-Tahrir handed out leaflets that made threats against Jews by citing verses from the Koran.

    So afterall, free speech isn't absolute.

  • ||

    By order of the prophet
    We ban that boogie sound
    Degenerate the faithful
    With that crazy casbah sound
    But the bedouin they brought out
    The electric camel drum
    The local guitar picker
    Got his guitar picking thumb
    As soon as the shareef
    Had cleared the square
    They began to wail

    The shareef don't like it
    Rockin' the casbah
    Rock the casbah
    The shareef don't like it
    Rockin' the casbah
    Rock the casbah

  • ||

    From the interview: "This is a creed of killing without any responsibility -- to kill women, children, to attack mosques, churches, schools, restaurants."

    "The creed of killing without responsibility, now where do you think that came from? ...and who, exactly, was responsible for murdering hundreds of American marines in 1983?"

    Uh, Ken, you're not seriously equating killing active duty military personnel in a combat zone with killing unarmed civilians, are you?

  • ||

    When he says "allow democracy" here, what do you think he means exactly? Does it mean establishing diplomatic relations with terrorists if and when they come to power?

    We should establish diplomatic relations with these vile groups. To do otherwise would send the message that we'll only talk to unelected thugs who opporess their people with a lack of accountability but not to thugs that the people chose. It sends a bad signal.

  • ||

    one more point:

    In August, the Danish authorities withdrew for three months the broadcasting license of a Copenhagen radio station after it called for the extermination of Muslims.

    Why didn't this radio station get any press coverage here even though they called for the extermination of Muslims? But call for the killing of Rushdie and all hell breaks loose.

  • ||

    Mo, I empathize, really I do.

    ...but it isn't clear to me that these terrorist groups, if elected, will become less of a threat to the American people with the resources of a nation at their disposal.

  • ||

    Why didn't this radio station get any press coverage here even though they called for the extermination of Muslims? But call for the killing of Rushdie and all hell breaks loose.

    uhh, because there is a big difference between calling for genocide against an entire people and someone satirizing a religion?

  • ||

    SR,

    It's my understanding that elements of what became Hezbollah are responsible for murdering hundreds of Americans in 1983. ...something, I understand, they continue to deny responsibility for. So when I hear a leader of Hezbollah talking about "killing without responsibility", I find it...um...noteworthy. ...and I suppose I always will.

  • ||

    So can we say, now, that the Bush Administration is objectively pro-Hamas, objectively pro-Muslim Brotherhood and objectively pro-Hezbollah?

    You forgot to note that they're also objectively pro-SCIRI and pro-Muqtada Al-Sadr.

    Yesterday, I attended a lecture at Yale given by Martin Indyk, who was the US Ambassador to Israel on two occassions during the Clinton years. He told a few interesting anecdotes, but the one that stood out the most was regarding the recent Palestinian elections.

    According to Indyk, Abbas was hell-bent on further postponing the elections, realizing that Hamas was going to do well, and possibly win. Looking for a way out, he sent a message to the White House proposing a scheme in which the Israelis would prohibit voting in East Jerusalem (which they've officially annexed), and Abbas would use this as an excuse to call off the elections. But Bush would have none of it. He thought it would be a good thing for Hamas to participate in the elections, and besides, couldn't believe that they'd actually win.

    If the story's true, then "clueless" wouldn't even begin to describe Bush's mindset on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And it would go a long way towards explaining just how we got to where we are right now in Iraq.

  • ||

    If the story's true, then "clueless" wouldn't even begin to describe Bush's mindset on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And it would go a long way towards explaining just how we got to where we are right now in Iraq.

    Indeed!

    And I don't think I've heard a really good answer for what we're supposed to do if a legitimately elected terrorist state(s) emerge(s) in the Middle East.

    I've heard people respond that democracy in the Middle East is the ultimate answer to American security, but there seems to be a lot of ground to cover between here and there. ...and there seems to be an awful lot of risks to American security in getting from here to there too.

    I'd like the President to answer some basic questions. For instance, if there were free and fair elections in Saudi Arabia, isn't it likely that the winners would be sympathetic to the likes of Osama bin Laden? We've seen what can happen when a terrorist organization and enemy of the United States gains the resources of a nation, what if our efforts to spread democracy brought other terrorist organizations and enemies of the United States to power? If our enemies are popular in their home countries, isn't promoting democracy like giving them the keys to the car?

    Like I've said so many times before, I remain unconvinced by the physics of domino theory, reverse or otherwise, and I by no means mean to suggest that the worst cass scenario is the most likely to happen. I doubt that there are very many people in any given culture that would prefer a terrorist organization to something else. ...although I suspect that, to people under occupation, terrorists can seem better than the alternative.

    I console myself with the theory that our efforts to promote democracy will be largely ineffective, that democracy, should it sweep across the Middle East, will happen in spite of our efforts rather than because of them. ...but I remain perplexed by the apparent disregard for the worst case scenario. What if I'm wrong and you're right, Mr. President? What if the Middle East ends up a militarized but legitimately elected bastion of anti-American hatred, led by the worst of our enemies?

    Huh, Mr. President?

  • ||

    I'd like the President to answer some basic questions.

    Sorry, Bub, but Cindy Sheehan's in line ahead of you, you'll have to wait your turn.

  • Callforjustice911||

    What is it with these Islamic bone heads? Can't take Western satire?

    Your "Prophet" stinks... What a weird religion you have. Beyond reason.

    I think I will go and do some satirical drawings of your stinking rotten prophet and post them everywhere. Your rotten religion provides the fuel for such.

    Anyone with a sense of reason should do so.

    To hell with Islmaic notions of umbrage!

    They kill us with bombs; they saw off our heads; they call us infidel "crusaders"---

    They have no respect for anyone outside of their stinking rotten faith...

    So...

    Callforjustice911

  • ||

    Why didn't this radio station get any press coverage here even though they called for the extermination of Muslims? But call for the killing of Rushdie and all hell breaks loose.

    uhh, because there is a big difference between calling for genocide against an entire people and someone satirizing a religion?

    I wasn't talking about the acrtoons. I was talking about Rushdie's fatwa.

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