Sunday, March 30, 2008

'By Jove, I Think They've Got it!'
Muslims Urged to Boycott, not Bomb:
The Fitna Follies Continue

It finally happened: Angered and insulted by Dutch member of parliament Geert Wilder's film, Fitna, a prominent voice in the Islamic world has called for all Muslims to rise up against the Netherlands.

In the Malay-language Utusan Malaysiaormer, Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad said: "If Muslims unite, it will be easy to take action."

Muslims Called to Action: A New Wrinkle?

He's calling for a boycott of Dutch products, in an effort to punish Dutch merchants, business owners, and their employees, for the psychological and cinematographic failings of one member of the Dutch parliament.
  • On one hand, boycotts have been criticized because they often hurt people who have no direct connection to, and no control over, whatever sparked the protest.
  • On the other hand, boycotts are a very concrete way of expressing an opinion. And I understand the desire to avoid contact with, and implicit support for, businesses that are associated with an unacceptable policy.
Whether the boycott is good or bad, effective or ineffective, misses the most important point.

A prominent Muslim has spoken, calling on all followers of Islam to rise up and: boycott.

Not bomb, not behead, not burn: boycott.

I don't think this is the sort of response Geert Wilders expected - or hoped for.

It also was pretty obviously not the sort of response that European and other leaders feared from the Muslims.

There's more, at "Report: Mahathir urges Muslims to boycott Dutch products"
CNN (March 30, 2008)

I've written before, about my opinion that Islam's reputation for being a bloodthirsty cult is at least as much a matter of culture as religion (in "Sudan Defends Islam Against Blasphemous Teddy Bear").

That would explain why Muslims are
  • So often out of step with the contemporary world in places where regional cultures were old, and old-fashioned, in the days when Rashidun Caliph Umar and Raja Rasil disputed whether the land between the Thar Desert, Kirthar Mountains, and the Arabian Sea would be called Sindh or Sind
  • Reacting to an extreme insult with a civilized call to action in a part of the world where people learned how to adapt to changing times.
The International Herald Tribune reported: "The film has sparked noisy street protests in many Islamic nations — but not in Malaysia, where 60 percent of the country's 27 million people are ethnic Malay Muslims.

"Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said in a statement late Saturday that Wilders 'must bear full responsibility over the release of the movie and the consequences of his action.'

" 'Portraying Islam as a religion advocating extremism is not only misleading and erroneous, but also blatant disregard and utter disrespect for Islam and the sensitiveness of the Muslim world,' he said."

More at "Report: Malaysia's Mahathir urges Muslims to boycott Dutch products"
International Herald Tribune (March 30, 2008)

From the Department of Unintended Consequences

Geert Wilders' Fitna has encouraged some Muslims to act in all-too-familiar ways. But it has also drawn attention to a leader in the Islamic world who seems to be far from the stereotypical Islamic radical.

Final (?) Word on Fitna

I try to look at all sides of a situation. That's been difficult in the case of Geert Wilders' movie, Fitna. Just about everyone, except (presumably) for the people in Geer Wilders' party, and those who voted for him, seems to loathe the film.

However, after a bit of digging, I finally found someone who had something good to say about Dutch member of parliament Geert Wilders's uber-hyped film, "Fitna." The author of an online op-ed piece said that he sort of liked a cool trick in Fitna's closing title.

"I guess the thing he can be credited with is upping the sound quality. Also the transubstantiation of "Fitna" into "Fin" at the end was pretty cool." (Excerpt from "The Fitna farce" The Guardian (UK), Comment is free (March 28, 2008).)

Aside from the Fitna > Fin gimmick, Ali Eteraz's op ed piece was eloquently contemptuous about Fitna: "My initial reaction is a yawn. ... Quick tip to future demagogues: when trying to incite riots, try not to use musical pieces that are based on Georgian lullabies. ... an insult to the legacy of Grieg and Tchaikovsky ... What the film really shows to me is that Wilders doesn't know the difference between Islam and Islamism - and when it comes to the latter he is completely lost."

Related Posts: In the news:
March 31, 2008

"Fitna the Movie: Geert Wilders' film about the Quran"
Muslims Against Sharia (April 10, 2008 (sic!))

Excerpt: "Muslims Against Sharia Offer $10,000 Reward for Information Leading to the Arrest and Conviction of anyone who threatens any person associated with production or distribution if (!) 'Fitna'."

Generalizers of the world, take note: Not all Muslims are terrorists.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.