Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Line Must Be Drawn Here

So a Danish newspaper prints a series of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad last year, and thousands of Muslim around the world are enraged. Incidents of violence have been increasing during the past few days, and I'm fairly certain it's only a matter of time before someone gets killed.

Most say it's about "freedom of speech"; some say "tolerance of other cultures". Still more claim this incident has cast a spotlight on the clash between two worlds - the Western and the Islamic. More and more, I read and hear people claiming these two worlds are inherently incompatible, and that sooner or later, a line will have to be drawn.

On an intellectual level, I accept and understand that Muslims regard any depiction of their prophet as an affront. Such actions, when commited by a non-believer, must be an even greater insult. But on a deeper, more visceral level, I understand something else...

Muslims, when offended, have a tendency to blow things up and/or kill people.

I know, I know, not all Muslims. Only the hard-core extreme Muslims. Sure, it's wrong to paint an entire culture with the terrorist brush. But then again, how many extremists does it take to kill an author.

Or a director.

Or 52 people in London.

Or 3,000 Americans.

Plus, it's hard to argue with this

...or this

...or this.

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