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September 19, 2004

Johnny comes lately
"The war for Islam's heart", The Economist, 2004 September 16.

Three years ago, it was only Americans who asked Why Do They Hate Us? The same question is now being asked by Indonesians, Spaniards, Turks, Australians, Nepalese, French, Italians, Russians and others whose citizens have fallen victim to jihadist “vengeance”.

The back of the line is over there, behind non-Muslim Indonesians, Sudanese, Nigerians, Thais, Indians, Filipinos and others, who have all been putting up with this since long before September 11th.

Of course, they long ago figured out the answer to the question which you're only starting to ask, so you have an opportunity here to save yourselves a lot of time and trouble.

"They" don't hate you because you're free. And it's not like the peoples I mentioned about have a long history of staunch support for Israel.

So Why Do They Hate You?

Because You're Not Muslim.

And when the targets of Islamic violence respond in kind, does the Muslim media call for understanding or place it into "context" (i.e. excuse it)?*

Egypt's leading newspaper, the government-owned daily Al Ahram, provided a clue recently. On September 1st, it relegated to inside pages the brutal massacre of 12 Nepalese kitchen workers by Iraqi guerrillas, who claimed to be “executing God's judgment” against “Buddhist invaders”. A day later, Al Ahram put on its front-page news that rioters in Katmandu, the Nepalese capital, had attacked a mosque—but did not explain what they were angry about. A slip, perhaps, but the omission reflected a pattern, repeated across the Muslim world, of harping on Muslim injury.
With growing stridency, Muslim liberals are saying that it is high time for Muslims to act, to stop their faith from being hijacked and turned into a cult-like vehicle for a clash of civilisations. Their sense is that the violence of a radical minority is not merely ruining sympathy for just Muslim causes in such contested places as Chechnya and Palestine, it is beginning to threaten Muslims' peaceful coexistence with others everywhere.
You think?

Western Leftists used to make a point of standing in solidarity with Third World peoples of color victimized by territorial aggression, but on September 11th, non-Muslim victims of Islamic expansionism outlived their usefulness to the Western Left. If it had been Third World kafirun who had flown those planes citing the US government's closeness to the bigotry-exporting regime in Saudi Arabia, it would be Muslims' plights that the Western Left would be doing its best to ignore rather than theirs.

* During the recent wave of violence in Thailand, the Thai government struck the hardest blow, not the first.

Posted by jeet at 10:58 PM