Saturday, September 15, 2012

Anti-American Protests, Anti-Islamic Film, and Getting a Grip

I've been out of town on business all week, and started catching up yesterday. I discovered that four Americans had been killed Tuesday at an embassy in Libya, and that both Libyan and American authorities seemed to think the attack had to be treated seriously.

That's progress of a sort. As for the usual protests:
Today I learned that many of the protests were a response to "...a film ridiculing Muhammad produced by an American in California and being promoted by an extreme anti-Muslim Egyptian Christian campaigner in the United States...." (AP, via

I think killing Americans and torching an embassy isn't an appropriate response: not even for someone who's really angry. That said, I can sympathize with Muslims who are upset about what seems to be the latest anti-Islamic film.

But folks who get upset, and then kill someone? That's unacceptable.

Ridiculing 'Those People'

I'm part of a religious minority in America, and long ago got used to having my faith ridiculed by other Americans:

(Chick Publications, via, used w/o permission)

I don't like comics like the one in that excerpt. But I'd much rather live in a country where folks are free to express their opinions: as long as I'm allowed to do the same. I remember the trailing edge of McCarthyism, and the more recent political correctness: and didn't like either one.

"Freedom" shouldn't mean "free to agree with me, or be quiet:"

Living in a Big World

Like I've said before, we live in a big world. Like it or not, the 7,000,000,000 or so folks who share the planet don't all:
  • Look alike
  • Wear the same clothes
  • Follow the same
    • Faith
    • Customs
I like living in a world where not everyone is like me. It would be unreasonable for me to expect everyone to enjoy a world of differences - but I think most of us can learn to say 'I don't agree' without killing someone.

I also hope that more of us can learn to say what we believe: without hurling insults at 'those people over there.' And that's another topic.

Here's a bit of what started me writing this post:
"Fury about a film that insults the Prophet Mohammad tore across the Middle East after weekly prayers on Friday with protesters attacking U.S. embassies and burning American flags as the Pentagon rushed to bolster security at its missions.

"At least seven people were killed as local police struggled to repel assaults after weekly Muslim prayers in Tunisia and Sudan, while there was new violence in Egypt and Yemen and across the Muslim world, driven by emotions ranging from piety to anger at Western power to frustrations with local leaders and poverty.

"A Taliban attack on a base in Afghanistan that killed two Americans may also have been timed to coincide with protests.

"But three days after the amateurish film of obscure origin triggered an attack on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi that killed the ambassador and three other Americans on Sept. 11, President Barack Obama led a ceremony to honour the returning dead and vowed to 'stand fast' against the violence.

" 'The United States will never retreat from the world,' said Obama, who in seeking re-election must defend his record on protecting U.S. interests, both at embassies and more widely in a region where last year's Arab Spring revolts overthrew pro-Western autocrats to the benefit of once-oppressed Islamists...."
(Ulf Laessing and Tarek Amara, Reuters)

"...Protesters angered over a film that ridiculed Islam's Prophet Muhammad fired gunshots and burned down the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, killing one American diplomat, witnesses and the State Department said. In Egypt, protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo and replaced an American flag with an Islamic banner.

"It was the first such assaults on U.S. diplomatic facilities in either country, at a time when both Libya and Egypt are struggling to overcome the turmoil following the ouster of their longtime leaders, Muammar Qaddafi and Hosni Mubarak in uprisings last year.

"The protests in both countries were sparked by outrage over a film ridiculing Muhammad produced by an American in California and being promoted by an extreme anti-Muslim Egyptian Christian campaigner in the United States. Excerpts from the film dubbed into Arabic were posted on YouTube...."
(Associated Press, via
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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.