No apology owed Muslims for film
You don’t have to be an Islamophobe to say, "Enough already.” It’s time for U.S. officials to stop apologizing for the YouTube video that supposedly sparked riots in Islamic countries. The video is merely a convenient pretext for religious radicals and irresponsible politicians to stir up anti-Western anger; they would have found another excuse if it hadn’t surfaced.
In an effort to avoid violence in Pakistan, the U.S. embassy in Islamabad broadcast ads on local TV showing American leaders denouncing the brief film. I understand the impulse — after what happened in Libya, the embassy is trying to protect its staffers. But attacking the video doesn’t get to the heart of the problem.
Here are some things you need to know about what’s really going on.
L?The YouTube video was deliberately promoted by radical clerics in Egypt, Pakistan and elsewhere to arouse publics who otherwise wouldn’t have seen it. In Cairo, a radical sheik aired it on his satellite TV channel (allegedly funded by Gulf money) and called for protests. This episode recalls the violence in 2005 over Danish cartoons satirizing the prophet Muhammad; those cartoons would probably have never made headlines had not a radical imam traveled from Denmark to Cairo and publicized them there.
L?The violent demonstrators represent only a minority of Muslims. In Libya, the attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff appear to have been planned by radicals, surprising the Libyan government. Libyan good samaritans carried Stevens to the hospital, and were caught on amateur video praising God that he appeared still to be alive. In Tunis, the majority of people also appeared genuinely shocked when hard-line Salafis sacked the U.S. embassy, and local businessmen offered to help restore the destroyed American school. (continue reading...)