The Muhammad Cartoons
I am somewhat bemused at the entire Muhammad (pbuh) cartoon incident. I really don’t know what to make of it. I hadn’t formed a solid opinion to the incident although I watched as the controversy grew from a few news articles at the bottom of Google News to front-page headlines.
I am a Muslim myself (in case you have come across this blog through a blog search engine), and I cherish my Muslim identity and think of it as an essential part of who I am. That being said, my reaction to the whole thing has been one of cynicism. I’m always going to be a lot harsher with us Muslims for our weaknesses than the non-Muslims who might make such weaknesses evident.
There is no Muslim economic superpower. No Muslim country holds much real clout in world affairs. Saudi Arabia had the potential to be a leader of the Muslim world if it weren’t governed by a small bunch of corrupt leaders who don’t have a voice of their own in the face of American influence. So when a newspaper of a small European country whose most famous exports are butter and chocolates publishes these inflammatory and outright racist cartoons, they don’t really care what effect it may have on Muslim sensibilities. Do you think if there were a similarly insulting set of cartoons about Jews, that the butter-exporters would have let the matter linger for so long? No, and the reason is not that they like the Jews more than Muslims, but simply because the Jews are far more influential in world affairs. They have enormous clout. Why? Not because they have magical powers, but because as a collectivity, they are the most highly educated and accomplished of people in the world. Even though their numbers are tiny, these people are so ingenious and hard-working that entire governments will be moved into action if someone offends them.
Do you think if somehow the Chinese were pissed off at the butter-exporters, that there would not have been an immediate
apology followed by some prompt head-rolling? That’s not because the Chinese have magical powers either, but because they have clout when it comes to world affairs. The Americans can never push the Chinese around, and it’s only because the Chinese have elevated themselves to a level where they cannot be pushed around.
Yes, it hurts to have our prophet insulted, but rather than bring ourselves down to a level where we have to fight with the government of these butter-exporters for an unqualified, no-nonsense apology, without any ‘freedom-of-the-press’ bullshit, we should focus internally and examine our weaknesses. Why is it that there is no credible Islamic voice in world affairs? Why is it that when a 1st world country decides to walk all over us, we are powerless to resist? There must be something wrong with us! How much longer are we going blame our problems on the west before we look to put our own house in order? I guarantee you that if we had economic and military influence today, it wouldn’t take two shakes of a cow’s teat to get an apology from these butter-exporters and a law passed soon after that banning incendiary and racist publication. They don’t care what we think and will never care unless we are as educated, as rich, and as powerful as they are. Then they’ll listen and then they’ll care what we think. Then we’ll be able to tell them what they can do with their damn butter.