In the wake of the death of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the controversial cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed, The Rev. Douglas Leonard, executive director of the Al Amana Centre, discusses the root of the resulting violence in the Middle East. “Islam happens to be the religion that is tied to this region and so it gets confused with the issue.” Leonard continues, “But this is really not about Islam.”
Al Amana Center Director on the Recent Unrest in the Middle East
The YouTube video “Innocence of Muslims” can now be added to a lengthening list of portrayals of Muhammad that have led to violence, both threatened and real, along with calls for censorship. Examples include the Salman Rushdie affair, occasioned by the 1988 publication of The Satanic Verses, and the notorious Danish cartoons of 2006. Especially given the rank amateurishness of this video, why does it provoke so?
The question can be answered in a number of ways. By far the worst explanation holds that the violence is nothing more than an irrational overreaction to a silly video, one somehow predetermined by attitudes intrinsic to Islam, including intolerance or demagoguery. Muslims, it follows, should get themselves a reformation and chill out.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST
NEW YORK — The rights of non-Muslims and women are safe in Egypt, Prime Minister Mohamed Morsi said Tuesday, repeatedly telling a US audience that the newly democratic country will remain a secular state.
“All Egyptians represent the majority, all Egyptians — men, women, Muslims, and Christians… regardless of their beliefs, their gender, their color,” Morsi said at the Clinton Global Initiative forum in New York.
Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood movement who was elected following Egypt’s revolution against US-backed strongman Hosni Mubarak, told the forum led by former president Bill Clinton that Egypt will remain pluralistic and secular.
“We have really a new democratic state and a new real civilian state in Egypt: non-theocratic, not military,” he said.
Morsi dismissed worries by some outside Egypt that civil and religious rights, including for the Coptic Christian minority, are likely to decline with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. He said the real problem in Egypt was Mubarak-era corruption.
“We don’t have a real problem in terms of the rights of women,” he said. “However, the corruption is something everybody suffered from.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM AFP
The so-called ‘culture clash’ between Islam and the West is being deliberately ramped up by Pax Americana’s cheerleaders who prefer this familiar narrative to the more complex reality of a clash of interests between Western and Muslim states.
Karl Marx once said that history repeats itself: first as tragedy, then as farce. The riots and Iranian fatwa calling for the death of Salman Rushdie which forced the British-Kashmiri author into hiding for 13 years, can only be described as tragic – for him and for the cause of freedom and tolerance.
In the years since the 1989 fatwa, the rage expressed at perceived Western “insults” to Islam and its prophet, Mohammed, have transcended tragedy to become farcical, with often tragic consequences. Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” – which, as those who have actually read it are aware, betrays a profound admiration and respect for the person of Mohammed, despite its criticism of religion and human nature – at least had the merit of artistic and literary quality.
In contrast, most subsequent targets of this brand of outrage have been crude and amateurish, such as the Danish cartoons mocking Mohammed, and consciously out to provoke a reaction, like the poorly-scripted and badly-acted “Innocence of Muslims,” which those “pre-incited”, “pre-programmed” Muslim protesters, as the film’s spokesperson Steve Klein described them, obligingly did.
FULL ARTICLE FROM HA’ARETZ
BENGHAZI, Libya — Two Islamist militias in the eastern city of Darnah announced Saturday that they were disbanding, bowing to a wave of anti-militia anger that has swept parts of Libya since a deadly attack on an American diplomatic mission on Sept. 11.
A local political activist said that one of the militias, the Abu Salim Brigade, had surrendered several bases in the city. A second militia was also said to have agreed to disband, Reuters reported.
The announcements came a day after tens of thousands of protesters marched in Benghazi demanding the dissolution of militias formed during the revolt last year against Libya’s strongman, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. Protesters stormed four bases in Benghazi, routing a rogue Islamist militia whose members were tied to the attack on the American mission, in which the American ambassador and three other Americans were killed.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES
Behind the anger over a film mocking the Prophet Muhammad, public protest is giving way to measured debate over free speech in the new Muslim world.
But while many crave more openness, few if any will go so far as to say that includes the right to blaspheme.
Angry shouts of “No, no to America!” and “No to Israel!” have been balanced by voices condemning the weeklong violence that has targeted U.S. and other Western embassies and left more than 30 dead in seven countries, including Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
“Muslims should know that Islamic extremist groups bear some responsibility for the uproar taking place now, and for the collision of the world cultures,” said Sheik Hameed Marouf, a Sunni cleric in Baghdad.
“The moderate people and clerics in the Islamic world should do their best to isolate and stop such groups that do not represent the true moderate values of our religion.”
Religious extremists — whether Muslim, Jewish or Christian — “will lead only to more killings and more blasphemous acts,” he said.
FULL ARTICLE FROM ABC NEWS
Just like not all Americans are like the people who made the weird anti-Islam movie that is sparking protests in Muslim nations, not all people in Libya are like the ones who killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens. Some of the people of Benghazi, where Stevens was killed, held a demonstration against terrorism and to show sympathy for the U.S. Libya Alhurra TV, an Internet TV channel founded at the start of the Arab Spring in 2011, posted Facebook photos of a rally there showing support for America and sympathy for Stevens. Here are some of those pictures:
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE ATLANTIC
The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”
At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more “devout” a Muslim, the more likely he is to be “violent.” Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: “Any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law; a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”
These are excerpts from dozens of pages of recent FBI training material on Islam that Danger Room has acquired. In them, the Constitutionally protected religious faith of millions of Americans is portrayed as an indicator of terrorist activity.
“There may not be a ‘radical’ threat as much as it is simply a normal assertion of the orthodox ideology,” one FBI presentation notes. “The strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe; they are main stream.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM WIRED.COM