Newsweek shows why it's the second-place newsweekly that wiped the floor with U.S. News & World Report by running a provocative Ayaan Hirsi Ali cover story entitled "The Last Gasp of Islamic Hate" and featuring a pretty garish cover under the title "MUSLIM RAGE."
It's not exactly a subtly nuanced piece, but it does find the often fiery Ali in a reflective mood. Although the widespread violence ostensibly directed at the trailer for the film Innocence of Muslims is a dismaying step backward after 2011's democratic movements around the Arab world, Ali writes that things will sort themselves out over the long term, as "Islamists...curtail the freedoms of those who elected them and fail to improve their economic conditions." From there, Ali writes, you might start to see sadder but wiser populations around the Islamic world:
After the disillusion and bitterness will come a painful lesson: that it is foolish to derive laws for human affairs from gods and prophets. Just like the Iranian people have begun to, the Egyptians, Tunisians, Libyans, and perhaps Syrians and others will come to this realization. In one or two or three decades we will see the masses in these countries take to the streets—and perhaps call for American help—to liberate them from the governments they elected. This process will be faster in some places than others, but in all of them it will be bloody and painful. If we take the long view, America and other Western countries can help make this happen in the same way we helped bring about the demise of the former Soviet Union.
We must be patient. America needs to empower those individuals and groups who are already disenchanted with political Islam by helping find and develop an alternative. At the heart of that alternative are the ideals of the rule of law and freedom of thought, worship, and expression. For these values there can and should be no apologies, no groveling, no hesitation.
Ali brought a little more fire and brimstone to this 2007 Reason interview:
I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars. Islam can be defeated in many ways. For starters, you stop the spread of the ideology itself; at present, there are native Westerners converting to Islam, and they’re the most fanatical sometimes. There is infiltration of Islam in the schools and universities of the West. You stop that. You stop the symbol burning and the effigy burning, and you look them in the eye and flex your muscles and you say, “This is a warning. We won’t accept this anymore.” There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.
It turns out, however, that this is one story readers are choosing to judge by its cover. Newsweek tried to flog the story with a Twitter hashtag #MuslimRage, but that meme got overrun faster than a U.S. embassy during a 9/11 anniversary bash. The #MuslimRage tag has been getting lightning updates from critics looking to make fun of the concept. Some pundits are applauding the humorous expropriation of a reductive concept, though I have to say the generally lame gags indicate why the Jewish monopoly on comedy isn't in much danger of being broken. Examples:
Oh you wear a niqab? Your a TERRORIST ! #MuslimRage
"A new column by Thomas Friedman" #muslimrage
...being called an extremist because you believe Khilafah is the only solution to the Ummahs problems. #MuslimRage
MUSLIMHULK RAGE AGAINST RAGE STEREOTYPES RT @alexhanna: I wonder what @MuslimHulk thinks about #MuslimRage
#MuslimRage - To be considered an authority in the West on everything Islam, just criticize Islam esp. on how it "oppresses" women. #fact
Not wearing a hijab #MuslimRage
When the staff at Subway touch the veggie patty after handling some ham #MuslimRage
Hijab pin comes undone due to the wind #muslimrage
75% of the #MuslimRage tags are indignant remarks at @newsweek. The other 25% are hummus jokes. W2G dying old media.
fucking bacon bits? #MuslimRage
“@dotfuz: Breakdancing hijabis at the local shisha place. #muslimrage” Lolz
Thinking only Arabs are Muslims #MuslimRage
Question why does the #US want to attack #Iran if Iran hasn't attacked a foreign country since 1798. #MuslimRage
Hearing a non-Arab say "wallahi" cos they think they sound cool ... #MuslimRage
#MuslimRage Sleeveless Girls. Yes
Having the perfect outfit and no matching hijab forcing you to make yourself believe that black goes with everything #MuslimRage
“@BeardedBrosINC: Sisters wearing 3cms of make up on meetings and turning out to be Freddy Krueger after marriage #MuslimRage” LOOL!!!!!
The real weakness of #MuslimRage, and of the U.S. government's pathetic, censorious response, is that they posit such an implausible scenario. Right now the Innocence of Muslims trailer has about 3 percent as many views as David After Dentist. The movie itself may or may not exist. Yet we're supposed to believe that this is the cause of a series of seemingly well coordinated attacks, including rocket attacks, over a three-million-square-mile area, which just happened to begin on September 11 and for which Ayman al-Zawahiri's brother has tried to claim partial credit? To believe that one you'd need to have stronger faith in virality than the average al Qaeda member has in the Quran.