Evil, Useful Idiots and a Rising Tide of Muslim Rage
Since September 11 this year, there has been an explosion of anti-American demonstrations, flag burnings and, in Libya, the murder of a US ambassador and three embassy staff.
Maps of the world on TV screens show angry red blobs where anti-American demonstrations have occurred, from Europe and North Africa through most of the Arab countries to Turkey, Iran and all the way to Malaysia and Indonesia.
The US government and most demonstrators are saying that the angry Muslim mobs are responding to the posting on You Tube of a ‘movie trailer’ called Innocence of Muslims, which ridicules Islam’s founder, the prophet Mohammed. The clips are amateurish and largely unintelligible, but the indictment of Islam and its founder is clear enough.
To me it was no surprise to learn that the filmmaker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, aka Sam Bacile, is a Copt, an Egyptian Christian. Having spent 25 years in the Middle East, including several in Egypt, the tone and tales of Innocence are familiar to me.
For example, I don’t know how many times I have been told in confidence by Arab Christians that Mohammed was given the Koran by a monk who was then thrown to his death down a well so that the world would never know the truth. (Muslims, of course, believe that the Koran was revealed to Mohammed by the archangel Gabriel.)
Some US-based Copts have been the most strident critics of Egypt’s policies towards the church there. They accused the Mubarak regime of inciting anti-Christian violence and pursuing official policies that limited the growth and freedom of the Coptic community, which is estimated at 15 percent of the Egyptian population.
But now the Mubarak era is beginning to look like the good old days to Egypt’s Christians. With a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated leadership in Egypt, the situation has grown significantly worse for the Copts, who have seen churches burned and members of their community harmed and killed as part of this Muslim-led ‘Egyptian Revolution’. Innocence is an attempt to strike back.
You would think that Muslims themselves would be pleased if Innocence is the best their detractors can do to insult them. But no, we are to believe that they are really, really mad about it. Yes, Muslims everywhere enjoy high-speed Internet access and regularly browse You Tube for inspirational movies. They are rioting now because they discovered this insult to their prophet and their faith and they are willing to risk their lives to make it known to America and other Western Satans that they will not tolerate this sort of free speech.
As of today some 50 people in seven countries have died, and many thousands injured, the vast majority Muslims. How do other Muslims feel about this? Are the dead legitimate martyrs for their faith?
Lenin is said to have called “useful idiots” the people in the West who marched for ‘peace’ and ‘justice’ and other seemingly noble causes but in truth were unknowingly promoting the Communist agenda.
Today’s Muslim demonstrators are a new brand of useful idiots. (Have you noticed that most look like kids skipping school?) Their legitimate dismay at a film ridiculing their faith is being manipulated by radical Muslims who are dedicated to the death of Americans and destruction of America.
Communism is an evil, atheistic ideology. Islamist terrorism is an evil, theistic ideology. Both have to be recognized for what they are and defeated.
In many respects Innocence is a caricature of a movie and the demonstrations are a caricature of Islam. Both channel manipulation; neither is innocent.
Western nations are not likely to give up their treasured freedoms for the sake of peace in the Muslim world, and Muslims are not likely to be able to shrug of insults to their faith.
So where will this end? By far the most serious problem is that of the bloody-minded Muslim radicals who want to shed the blood of perceived enemies and dominate the world for their brand of Islam. Islamist terrorism is a serious global scourge that is responsible for many thousands of deaths already and promises much more bloodshed and suffering.
This will only end when responsible Muslims no longer tolerate irresponsible radicals in their midst. America and other Western powers will themselves never manage to end terrorism that has its roots in Muslim nations.
Mutual respect among the faithful of various religions would be nice, but that is a distant goal for now. There simply is not the depth of thinking and tolerance in today’s religions and sects to prevent some inter-faith nastiness.
In the meantime, American government apologies to Muslim states only make things worse. The apologies imply US government responsibility and thus invite more anti-Americanism.
In the midst of a rising tide of Muslim anger and violence, we need to remember where the evil really lies and deal with that.
Thomas Cromwell is the editor of DiplomaticTraffic.com. He was founding publisher and editor of the Middle East Times, and spent 25 years in the region.