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Thursday, February 09, 2006


Season of Rabble-Rousers

In some parts of the world it does not take much to incite violence. There are people blinded by faith who are too willing to be lead by mullahs or priests into the streets to burn or pillage when they perceive their faith to be under attack. Consider the current turmoil over the cartoons published in Jyllands-Posten in Denmark. Are there Christians, Hindus and Jews who would have been offended by caricature of their faith? Yes, certainly. Would they have gone on a rampage? That is questionable. Not that some among them would not have wanted to. Bigots exist among followers of all faiths but if they lived in a democratic society they would not have been permitted to cause the mayhem in which the Muslims are engaged in. Then there are others for whom it is an opportunity to vent their anger over issues that are unrelated to the offending cartoons. Griff Witte writes in the Washington Post: "Furor over the caricatures of Islam's most revered figure may have triggered the wave of recent demonstrations among Muslims worldwide. But as the protests escalate, they are morphing into an opportunity for individuals, groups and governments to push agendas that often have little or nothing to do with defending Islam. Rallies ostensibly held for religious reasons have become chances to vent economic frustrations, settle local scores or gain political leverage."

Rabble-rousers are making full use of communication technology to keep the flames alive. "COPENHAGEN, Feb. 8 -- Mohammad Fouad Barazi, a prominent Muslim cleric here, received a text message on his cell phone last week. It was a mass mailing from an anonymous sender, he said, warning that Danish people were planning to burn the Koran that Saturday in Copenhagen's City Hall Square out of anger over Muslim demonstrations against Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad."


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