In recent history, every few years the Muslim ummah breaks out into a spasmodic convulsion of uncontrollable hysteria and violence that defies reason, leaving the rest of humanity bewildered.
The burning and killing continue unabated across the Islamic world as we Muslims, provoked by a pathetic amateurish film mocking the Prophet Mohammed, validate every negative stereotype about us.
Muslims like me revere Mohammed not just as a Prophet, a Messenger of God to humanity, but also as a beloved father-figure, greatly admired and adored. However, what we Muslims fail to recognize is that the rest of the world does not share our opinion and have the right to disagree with our beliefs.
At best, non-Muslims consider Mohammed a mere historical figure who laid the foundation of the first-ever Arab empire in the 7th and 8th centuries. At worst, Islam’s critics consider Mohammed to be a false prophet who introduced warfare as part of the practice of Islam, and whose followers conquered the lands of Christianity and Zoroastrianism, massacred Jews, Hindus and Sikhs. These critics maintain contemporary Muslims are also following the same path of armed or civilizational jihad.
The world’s saner elements may not say so on the record, but they are left angered, wondering how to deal with the sheer madness that unfolds every time Muslims sensibilities are offended. And getting offended, it seems, is the most identifiable attribute of my Muslim brothers.
We burned down the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad in 1979 for no reason whatsoever when Saudi Islamic fanatics took over the Ka’aba in Mecca. We have caused many deaths — mostly Muslim — following the publication of the Danish cartoons. And who can forget the turmoil and murderous mayhem that followed the publication of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses 30 years ago or Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s documentary Fitna in 2008.
What alarms me is the devious, unethical and immoral nature of a critical mass of Muslims who are not offended when Saudi Arabia destroys the 7th century home of Mohammed, but freak out at a film they have not seen or a book they have not read.
Fourteen thousand dead and disappeared youth in Pakistan-occupied Balochistan does not offend their sensibilities; 500,000 Muslim Darfuris killed by the Arab Janjaweed does not bother them; blowing up the Bamiyan Buddha statues is celebrated or shrugged off; 20,000 dead Syrians triggers no attack on an Iranian Embassy — but a mediocre, C-grade film on Mohammed causes mayhem and the murder of an American ambassador. Why?
Our collective hysteria is not helped when shortsighted politicians such as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton try to appease the murdering mobs.
Her reaction brought an uncharacteristic blunt criticism from the former Pakistan ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani. The exiled Boston University professor writing in the Wall Street Journal, said:
“When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to calm Muslims Thursday by denouncing the video, she was unwittingly playing along with the ruse the radicals set up. The United States would have been better off focusing on the only outrage that was of legitimate interest to the American government: the lack of respect—shown by a complaisant Egyptian government and other Islamists—for U.S. diplomatic missions.”
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