- Denmark's embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, is missing its front wall
- Quite a few people are dead
- Many more are hurt
It could be a band of passionate Icelanders, driven to violence by "Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm."
Somehow, I doubt that.
It's more likely that some enthusiastic Muslims are responsible. I understand that Danish newspapers recently reprinted cartoons drawn by Kurt Westergaard. They were, to put it mildly, in dubious taste.
"Westergaard's cartoon depicted the prophet wearing a bomb as a turban with a lit fuse. He said he wanted his drawing to say that some people exploited the prophet to legitimize terror. However, many in the Muslim world interpreted the drawing as depicting their prophet as a terrorist."
Ayman Muhammad Rabaie al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's second in command, seems to be particularly upset about the cartoons, and their re-publication. Here's what IntelCenter, an American group that monitors Al Qaeda messages, quoted al-Zawahri as saying in an April 21 video:
" 'I urge and incite every Muslim who can harm Denmark to do so in support of the Prophet, God's peace and prayers be upon him, and in defense of his honorable stature.' "
(from FOXNews, used w/o permission)
I've written this before, but it bears repeating. I think that Islam is going through a very difficult period. For centuries, while other parts of the world grew from feudal allegiances to the European Union, much of the Islamic world kept a culture based on traditions that were ancient when Abraham lived.
(from "Sudan Defends Islam Against Blasphemous Teddy Bear" (November 28, 2007)):
I don't think that the problem is necessarily Islam. Look at the map, and look at the relatively uniform culture of the countries in northern Africa and the Middle East. The impression I get is that these are places where men were living comfortably in a mosaic of tribes, living their lives in much the same way that their ancestors had since the time of Abraham.
Then, a few centuries ago, European colonial powers dragged them into the
- Age of nation-states
- Age of Reason
- Age of Enlightenment
- Industrial Revolution
- Cold War
- Space Race
- Information Revolution
Non-Muslims might consider the possibility that the insanely intolerant, violent, behavior of "Islamic" countries doesn't stem from Islam. The traditional cultures of many of these places were old-fashioned when Rome ruled the Mediterranean, and hadn't been forced to deal with outside ideas until the last few generations.
Muslims, whether they want to or not, live in the early decades of the Information Age, and must decide whether or not they want to learn how to live alongside people who aren't exactly like themselves.
Either way, it's going to be difficult.
Previous posts on (some of) Islam and Cartoons:
- "Islam, Denmark, and Freedom of Speech: a Learning Experience"
(February 13, 2008)
- "Swedish Dog Displays Blasphemous Images"
(September 19, 2007)
- "Death to the Cartoonist! Death to Swedish Dog!"
(September 18, 2007)
- "Suicide bomber targets Danish embassy in Pakistan" CNN (June 2, 2008).
- "Large Explosion Rocks Danish Embassy in Pakistan, at Least 6 Killed" FOXNews (June 2, 2008)