The last couple of years have been especially traumatic for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East. Besides the advent of the Arab Spring and the associated violence, there is also much evidence of anger and violence in the region driven by religiously motivated groups and individuals.
The purpose of this article is not to pass judgement on what is right, wrong or justifiable. It is simply an observation about what is currently happening in the Islamic world and its publicised reaction to foreign events. There is an open invitation for readers of all religions to express their opinion on this perceived Islamic anger.
Readers will remember the global uproar when the Danish editorial cartoons on the Islamic prophet Muhammad were published in 2005. A number of violent sequels since, this week saw the assassination of Christopher Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya, and three of his colleagues. The American consulate in Benghazi was attacked largely as a consequence of a low-class amateur video about the Prophet Muhammad, which ironically, had already been condemned by the Obama administration.
In the same week, Egyptian rioters attacked the American embassy in Cairo and protestors broke into the US embassy grounds in Yemen as a result of the same film. Elsewhere in the Islamic world things weren’t all that rosy either.
In Somalia, the life of the newly elected president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, a civil-rights campaigner, was threatened by a suicide-bomber loyal to an extremist Islamic group. The attack in Mogadishu proved fatal for several other people. In Iraq last week dozens were killed in bombings. In Tunisia, an extremist Islamic group smashed up a bar that serves alcohol. In Syria, the death toll in their civil war rose to above a horrific 25,000 last week.
No doubt some Christian extremists will even be associating the massive factory fire in Pakistan killing hundreds of Muslim workers with some act of divine something-or-other.
The unfortunate association that’s being strengthened here is that there is a solid link between Islam, anger and violence. This is akin to branding a cartload of apples rotten when it is obvious that in reality there are only a couple of seriously dodgy ones in there.
If violence begets violence, then surely current events are evidence enough that even such associations only aggravate matters.
The interesting question for Wonkie is, where are all the religious leaders – and not just the Islamic ones, on all this. Should they not be focusing the attention of the world on the (hopefully) stronger values that their respective religions advocate? All that love, peace, charity, forgiveness and other good stuff? Listen to that silence.
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Related quotes and articles on the Islamic anger and religious protest:
“Surely religious conviction should be able to rise above such issues – or are followers’ beliefs that fragile that they can be easily broken with a pencil sketch?” … from Wonkie’s Zapiro Mohammed cartoon post from 2010.