Finding a raw nerve, striking it, and liking it

There is not much to be said about the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ trailer – and the reaction to it in several Muslim-majority countries – that has not already been said. More enlightened commentary has emphasised the right to free speech and expression and framed the violent response as a predominantly local competition for power, to determine the future politics of specific countries or, they hope, of an entire religion. Of course the nuanced analysis is almost by definition reserved to those who bother to think and read about the events of the past few weeks. Others are driven more by gut reaction and you can see the saddening results online, whether it is at Muslims or the West that the hatred and bile is directed.

This blog post is motivated less by the initial volley – the trailer and the embassy riots – and more by the decision this week by French paper Charlie Hebdo to publish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammed. As most people are now abundantly aware, this is considered blasphemous by many Muslims. So the question again has to be why? Following the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens, the burning of American flags and the violence perpetrated in the name of outrage, it was relatively easy to uphold the freedom of speech and to point the finger at those responsible for the bloodletting. There is no moral equivalence between uttering nasty things and killing people, or even threatening violence.

Yet with these cartoons now released to stoke the fire, is there a point at which we must be more circumspect about what we say? The editors of Charlie Hebdo clearly disagree; as editor Stephane Charbonnier tells Al Jazeera English, ‘I’m not asking strict Muslims to read Charlie Hebdo, just like I wouldn’t go to a mosque to listen to speeches that go against everything I believe’. It is a smart defense and the publication of the cartoons is in almost all regards difficult to argue against. There are very good reasons for why the West has its freedom of expression and in a global marketplace of ideas and images, many of which will be insulting to someone, we all have to develop a thicker skin.

But at what point does exercising that freedom of expression become analogous to the obnoxious kid who hurls abuse at passers-by from the safety of his parents’ home? We don’t go around calling people fat, ugly or outright deformed, just because we can. We frown upon slurs, both racial and sexist, and hide all sorts of unpleasant realities with euphemisms. Why then should this same society actively seek out the nerve exposed by parts of the Muslim world and strike it again, and again?

Upon reflection, the only group of people who deliberately strikes raw nerves like that are kids engaged in bullying. You know the story: one kid has been designated as the victim and the others probe until they find the one insult that will cause the most harm – the quickest route to a reaction. Once identified, they pounce. The victim lashes out, violently, and the bullies can then claim outrage over the disproportionate reaction to what was after all ‘only playground taunts’.

There is a fairly good article on CNN.com by David Frum entitled ‘Don’t blame the video; defend free speech’. Nothing here should be read as going against that initial reaction and free speech is not the main problem here. But when free speech is used without any responsibility, or simply to provoke, are there not moral reasons for it to be circumscribed, not by the authorities as in totalitarian states, but by ourselves? Is there not a need for some measure of self-control on the part of outlets like Hebdo Charlie and a suitably adult rejection of hate-mongering by the rest of us? Yes, they are only cartoons and the likely violent reaction cannot be tolerated. But if these cartoons are printed precisely because they will be hurtful to others, we have to question not only the motive but also the righteousness of such action – the righteousness of exercising our beloved free speech.

In this case, it is not just a moral case of not engaging in what is in effect cross-border bullying but also a strategic question, as action such as Hebdo Charlie’s goes against exactly what the West is trying to do to alienate and render irrelevant the extremist forces of al-Qaeda and their ilk. When we through our actions validate their argument that ‘Islam is under attack’, we are contributing to their recruitment appeal and proving correct, in the eyes of many, their narrative. Well done…

One reason the provocation goes on is seemingly because we reject the violent reaction and want to prove a point, as if enough abuse will dull the sensitivity and help them ‘get over it’. I can think of few instances where such shock therapy has worked and the propaganda gift we don our enemies through such action outweigh any benefit accrued.

Another reason, more childish, is that ‘they started it’. Fingers are pointed at the violent sermons in mosques, the burning of flags, the rampant antisemitism and bigotry that one often finds in more extreme contexts. ‘Why should we exercise self-control and “respect the other” when we get so little in return?’ This points to the ultimate challenge of the war of ideas that we are currently in. There is a choice: become like the enemy whom you despise, emulate his tactics, or take a step back and show through your actions and words why such hate-mongering, whether it be by an extremist imam or the editor of Charlie-Hebdo, does not belong in our world and society. As Friedrich Nietzsche put it: ‘He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee’. This is not a matter of rights or entitlements, but of  judgement and responsibility.

 

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53 thoughts on “Finding a raw nerve, striking it, and liking it

  1. David Betz says:

    David, do you think we have the right to speak freely or not? I was brought up to think that that right is absolute and inalienable. My views on it are rather fundamental and I don’t understand why you would want to introduce any ambiguity here. It is a foundational principle of Western civilisation.

    • David, yes I think we have that right. Of course. I also think that we should have that right – always. What I am arguing is for it to be used responsibly and with some degree of self-awareness – a tall order, I know. Still actions such as these cartoons ought to be avoidable – I just don’t see anything good coming out of it.

    • David Betz says:

      By ‘degree of self awareness’ you mean fear, right? I may disagree with what you say but I will defend to the last your right to say it. Will you do the same? Btw, salman rushdie’s quasi auto-biog is out this week. Worth reading. Instructive on the wages of craven appeasement.

    • No I don’t mean that…

      I would fight for the right for free speech but I will also point out when it is being used carelessly or counterproductively. Just because speech is free doesn’t mean it had to happen.

    • Ael says:

      Ya, freedom of speech it is a fundamental right. Unless, of course, you are an Arab. In that case it is “material support” for terrorists and if you are lucky you get indefinite detention (with or without trial). If you are not so lucky, you and your son, get to eat Hellfire missiles for lunch.

  2. Mike Reynolds says:

    I’m afraid it’s actually worse than your ‘bullying’ analogy. There seem to be growing numbers of people on the Right who will repeatedly (from what they hope will be the safety of anonymity) insult Islam–in the hope of bringing on an epic Clash of Civilizations in which the Islamic world will be utterly destroyed. Moreover, they are impatient to do this NOW, because of their belief that, with each passing year, the West is losing the will to defend itself. There’s no good solution to this. None.

    • David Betz says:

      You know this how?

      And, moreover, even if we indulge your theory why do you use the words ‘what they hope will be the safety of anonymity’. Whatever do they have to fear?

    • Mike Reynolds says:

      well, I’ve seen people on far-Right sites vow to publish blasphemy, for exactly the reasons described. That said, not many of them are willing to risk being targeted like Rushdie. But how many would it really take? Worrisome.

    • David Betz says:

      A friend sent me a note that I think that is very relevant to the point you have made.

      I noted the recent discussion at Kings of War blog, which reminded me of the following:

      ‘In February 1989, my novel The Satanic Verses was published in the United States a few days after the Khomeini fatwa; in the eye of the storm, in other words. What happened in the months that followed was something I will never forget. American writers gathered together in a show of almost complete unity to defend freedom of speech. Thousands of ordinary Americans wore “I am Salman Rushdie” buttons to express their solidarity. The independent booksellers of America put the book in windows,mounted special displays, and courageously stood up for freedom against censorship, refusing to allow the choices of American readers to be limited by the threats of an angry despotic cleric far away. The bravery of independent booksellers influenced other stores to follow their lead, and in the end a key battle for free expression was won—not by politicians who, as usual, arrived cautiously and tardily at the battlefield, but by the determination of ordinary people that it not be lost. I have never ceased to be grateful for what the independent booksellers of America did in 1989 and, now that I have finally been able to tell the full story of that battle, I’m glad to be able to honor your courage and give you all your due, both in the pages of my book and in what I will say about it when it is published. This is just to thank you personally. It was a privilege to be defended by you, and I have been trying, and will continue to try, to be worthy of that defense.’

      http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/53983-salman-rushdie-writes-thank-you-to-indie-booksellers.html

      The first comment to the publisher’s weekly post is touching and very brave:

      ‘Thank you Salman Rushdie for your courage. It was an honor and a privilege to carry Satanic Verses. Cody’s was bombed that February. We stood across the street and watched as the bomb squad detonated the pipe bomb in the store. (It was too dangerous to remove it). Right afterwards the staff returned to the store. We had a meeting and I asked them what they wanted to do. They voted unanimously to continue carrying Satanic Verses. I was pretty proud to be a bookseller that day. ‘

      We may be in for a rough go for a bit because we have two ideas of the world that don’t match, yet come in contact with some frequency. We–meaning the West– may just have to grit through it for some time.

      END

      I consider these very wise words and I’m grateful for them. Who is being brave today? Do you stand with the bookseller or would you say ‘gee, really, mightn’t it be prudent to remove that book? It’s just a little thing–just wood pulp and ink. What does it matter?’

    • Patti Chell says:

      I think there will be little hope of regaining civility and decorum as long as we have such an overwhelming desire to listen to people who continue to point their finger to the left or right to make themselves feel superior…isn’t that really apart of being a bully???

  3. steve says:

    Bullying is an affront to a single person. When you make fun of Mohammad, he’s been dead for hundreds of years. It’s silly to even debate – free speech must be absolute – but for time, place and manner restrictions, the classic “Fire” in a movie theater. This doesn’t apply here. Islam as a culture has not had a reformation, a great awakening, an enlightenment, a Renaissance of the arts, etc. They do not have the capability of engaging modern society. If they cannot meet the basic obligation of international relations, protecting a guest’s embassy; if they turn violent every time the so-called prophet is put into cartoon; then they are inferior, and they do not deserve the presumption of your article.

    • Ed (the real one) says:

      Not to over-analyse here, Steve, but you contradict yourself. “[F]ree speech must be absolute” except for exceptions. You are right that there must be exceptions. Free speech is a qualified right, not an absolute one.

      However, I think you are going a bit racist / undeserved claim of superiority in your claims of “their” inferiority.

    • David Betz says:

      Do you think that qualifications of the right of freedom of expression are relevant to the case at hand?

    • Ed (the real one) says:

      No, I don’t. I do think that mis-statements (or alternatively taking a foolish view; consider “fire in a crowded theatre” or “incitement to murder”) of rights should be challenged.

  4. Arun says:

    I am a hindu by birth and would be regarded a right-winger /anti-islamic for my pro-Narendra Modi leanings (albeit for his splendid development work in an Indian State). But even I wont blame the muslims if they get offended by the cartoons, because I was opposed to similar treatment of hindu icons by an MF Hussain (regarded as a “great” artist in this part of the world by insensitive pseudo-secularists). Again there were no killings because of his paintings AFAIK, but question is WHY? Its like pollution (for want of better analogy), i CAN pollute the air at the cost of some godforsaken glacier melting away, but SHOULD I? What good comes of it? Freedom of speech is dear to you, similarly what if they justify that thrashing of a guest is ok, if that guest’s country publishes inflaming material? Its so arbitrary…

    I would rather reserve my freedom of speech for the betterment of society – not drawing cartoons imagining someone eons ago did something crazy…

    I would agree with Mike who wrote earlier, there is no good solution to this…

    • Rosie says:

      I did not see any embassies or mosques burned over MF Hussain’s portrayal of Saraswati. There was not one violent incident by the Buddhists when the Bamiyan Buddhas were demolished. I don’t see what why anyone needs to be infantile about religious slurs. As a Pakistani, I know there is a lot of fear and anger from minority communities who live in abject terror of their Muslim neighbours.
      Free speech should not be curbed.

    • David Betz says:

      What you do with your freedom of speech is your business. It is your own individual freedom to have your own conscience and to speak it. Peace.

    • The pollution analogy is problematic only because there the process is automatic whereas the protesters have a choice. Still, your question “what good comes out of it?” hits the nail on the head. Thanks for your comment.

    • David Betz says:

      No, it does not hit the nail on the head unless you have a crystal ball into which you can see the future. To some extent this is possible in the hard sciences. It is not nearly so possible with the social sciences. When Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg did people ask what good will come of it? I bet they did. And 100 years later, 200 years later, even now you might well ask the same question. You have no idea. And yet you wish to close down provocation?

    • Madhu says:

      Since when is blasphemy a Hindu concept? It’s generally considered an Abrahamic concept, isn’t it?

  5. When it comes to evil, to tolerate is to accommodate, to accommodate is to appease, and to appease is to concede defeat.

    Thanks, Mr. Osama, for the continuing apology tour. You are making our country weaker and more hated than ever.

    • Ed (the real one) says:

      Are you referring to Mr Romney’s lie about Mr Obama (I see you accidentally mis-spelled that) apologising? He didn’t, by the way.

  6. Richard says:

    20.000 dead in Syria..where there any Syrian embasses attacked or diplomats killed?
    The malady is not in the west its in the heart of the Muslim and their unwillingness or inability to ascertain what is really important, the life of a child, the rights of a women and the dignity of man.

  7. Matt says:

    As much as I disagre with Charlie Hebdo’s republishing of the prophet’s cartoons, I think you are missing their point. They want to show that they are not deterred by the violent behavior and threats to their freedom of speech.
    More globally I think the main issue here is the huge cultural gap that lies between the west and other countries. People tend to believe that the global internet culture has bridged that gap, that all youtubers should be venerating free speech above all for example. Amin Maalouf wrote about converging “horizontal identities” in the modern world (a young man in Istanbul has more in common with a young man in NY than with his grandfather) but there remain a strong “vertical” cultural heritage and it has to be understood and respected. It is a hard task in world with fewer boundaries, but it should be part of our common edcation if we want to be truly global.

    • Matt, that is a valuable comment. Still, if that is Hebdo Charlie’s message, who is listening? Do these cartoons tell “them” that their protests and violence won’t work, or is it telling “them” that the West is intent on humiliating them and that they must defend Islam against “the Zionist crusaders”.

      In other words, what is being gained through these cartoons? And what is being lost? Following through on that analysis, rather than play a game of chicken with these protesters, wouldn’t a better response be to rise above it? We don’t print cartoons that would upset Jews, women, Latinos or blacks — not because we fear the backlash, but because, well, why would we? To show them we dare…? Seems rather weak.

    • David Betz says:

      David, you really should go see The Book of Mormon on Broadway. Then get yourself a copy of Jerry springer: the opera. Big money makers and funny! Nobody died from taking the piss out Of Joseph smith.

      Is Islam encoded in the genes?

  8. Mike Reynolds says:

    Mr Ucko – you don’t print material that offends Jews, women, blacks et al……but there are those who do & nobody censors them, at least not in America. Nor should they be censored.
    I’d try to ask Muslims if they believe the definition of Freedom of Speech is freedom for speech one already agrees with? By that standard, Saddam and Qaddafi were champions of ‘free speech.’
    The phrase only has meaning if it applies to speech you hate.
    But the mobs in Karachi and Cairo are immune to that sort of reasoning & therein lies their downfall–because there are those people determined to bait them into going to war against the West….while the West still has the will to crush them. A disaster waiting to happen.

  9. George King says:

    The points made in the film are simple historic truths. Mohammed was a pedophile, a rapist and a mass murderer. Among war lords on the 7th century Arabian peninsula he was the leader in his perversions & his horrifically ruthless butchery of opponents. All of these characteristics are noted in multiple Islamic texts. (Check the wonderful faithfreedom site for detailed analysis). There is a common misconception that Mohammed is being ‘insulted’ he is not – this is his monstrous personal history.

    To Muslims Mohammed is their prophet, to those who examine his personal history he is a evil, repulsive & repugnant human being. If the ‘feelings’ of a monster’s supporters are the prime concern should we allow criticism of Hitler – it might offend Nazis?

    If Muslims can’t handle non-Muslims entirely correct use of free speech they should stay off the Internet. Ban Muslim access to the Internet not non-Muslims free speech.

    • Ed (the real one) says:

      I’m sure that all Muslims will be grateful to you for your guidance on what they should do / not do. I’m sure they will all follow that guidance.

    • Jaimon Joseph says:

      LHM

      George – St Paul was a mass murder too. So were many Popes from the Crusader era. A lot of priests have been Paedophiles. St Peter was a liar when he denied Jesus. St Thomas was a coward when he refused to go to the East. The English Church was founded because the King wanted a second wife and the Pope wouldn’t allow him These are historic truths. Besides of course, the fact that Jesus hung out with tax collectors and the general garbage of society of his time. And the fact that there’s an old papyrus text that says that he and Mary Magdalene were married.

      Which of all this stops you from being a Christian? Even assuming you aren’t Christian, which of this makes you hate Muslims? Assuming both religions are so full of faults, why haven’t you tried Buddhism yet? Or Hinduism? Or Sikhism? Do you prefer to yell at others – without making an effort to understand yourself?

    • BruceinCary says:

      Jaimon,

      All your facts are correct. So what does St. Paul, middle-age popes, St. Thomas, etc. have to do with freedom of speech? I don’t have a problem with you pointing out unpleasant truths about Christianity, and even if I did that’s my problem not yours. If I hate Muslims, which I don’t, again that’s my problem not yours.

      Some things to consider when thinking about Americans:

      - Most of us come from immigrants who were themselves dirt poor, persecuted, or both.
      - We don’t (or at least try not to) hold the “sins of the father against the children”. It’s not what my grandfather and your grandfather did or didn’t do, it’s what we do, that matters.
      - We genuinely don’t understand why arguments seem to so often come from the perspective of what happened 100s of years ago.

  10. John says:

    The bullying analogy is inapropriate. No person, at least no living person, is being insulted. The bullied individual in your analogy is goaded until he reacts against the bullies – not against an innocent bystander. A better analogy might be the insulting of ones’ football team: which can and does lead to violent reaction that is often directed against the innocent.

  11. L.Midavaine says:

    I find this to be a bit ridiculous.
    Why should a satirical independent outlet of very medium importance be concerned with toeing its editorial line with some sort of consensus of what the “West” should do? Is there such a thing as the “West”? You speak of a bullying campaign as if it was all coming from a coordinating entity. That’s a huge debate to be had, maybe, but I am not convinced.

    It’s a global world, we are said, but doesn’t that reveal in a sense the amount of (disproportionate) control we expect countries to have.

    What bothers me is that the outrage is:
    - Arbitrary: It probably is to be expected with the current media-saturated world. I’m sure you wouldn’t have to look hard to find heinous (and unfortunately not satirical) pieces about muslims: why those, why now?
    - Probably in part manufactured or manipulated: part of a global political campaign on-going for years from some Islamic states (and some Islamic terrorist groups, see what the Hezbollah leader said…) to force “blasphemy” and “religion defamation” in international right. And this I believe we should not accept at any cost.

    Also, as a final point, there’s the question of how widespread the protests are, the eternal problem of trying to evaluate the so called “Arab street”. While everyday muslims seems to be offended (judging from the reaction of French muslim organisation… but how representative are they?), what is the amount of violent protesters really? Is it so significant that a French weekly paper we should bend the speech of a weekly newspaper mostly read in France?

    • L.Midavaine says:

      That last phrase is a train wreck, my apologies:
      “Is it so significant that the speech of a mostly read in France weekly paper should be bended?”

      To correct and clarify.

  12. Jaimon Joseph says:

    LHM

    So I’ve been thinking. Do books like Dan Brown’s collection and the recent NYT report on Jesus being married become popular because of free speech? Or because the western elite are already in a place where it’s hard for them to believe anything divine? Are churches in the west empty because nothing is really sacred anymore?

    Someone here wrote about Is;lam never having a rennaisance and not being ready to face the modern world. Go to a few good libraries. Or read up on history on the web. Almost everything that modern science and art hold of value today – was kicked off by work in Islamic countries – later furtively copied by European intellectuals.

    I’m Christian. I’m Indian. I think anyone who disrespects another is contemptible. Manners and Politeness dictate you converse with the other, not mock them. I’d been curios why muslim countries don’t react simply by lampooning Jesus and Mother Mary the same way the West does Prophet Muhammad. It stuck me today morning – Jesus is a prophet for Muslims. And Mother Mary is among the most revered women in their religion. To lampoon them would be an affront to their own beliefs. That’s probably why they don’t do it – not because they don’t have newspapers or magazines or TV channels of their own.

    • Ed (the real one) says:

      I’d been curios why muslim countries don’t react simply by lampooning Jesus and Mother Mary the same way the West does Prophet Muhammad.

      Heard of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”?

    • Esra says:

      Becaue this is not the solution to us. :)
      People are so bodered defending their freedom of speech, and misuse it without even giving it a second thought. Making cartoons of a prophet is such a lame and rude thing. I wonder what good comes out of it. If someone is given, the right to speak no matter what it leads to, then they should be sensible enough while using it. Cartoonist and Film Makers have to come out of such uncivilised, uncultured and impolite things.

  13. Cincinnatusjr says:

    I am in general agreement with your comments with two additional observations, neither of which are original to me:

    1. Where is this dialogue when “artists” depict symbols of Christianity in grotesquely offensive “art?”

    2. The idea that humans will all exercise restraint defies the experience of humankind, both past and present.

    3. I still await a satisfactory or even sensible explanation as to why it is that self-professed followers of islam repeatedly act in the way those rioters did last week when they perceive some slight against their religion, which they are so quick (at least here in the US among such groups as CAIR and AAI) to assert is “peaceful” and “tolerant” of those with different views and beliefs.

  14. Quintin says:

    It has occurred to me what incredible power this leaves in the hands of the individual. Given a budget of about £50.00 (and existing equipment and infrastructure), I could make an offensive movie about Islam and post it on the internet – it is sure to be better than the current offensive one (that is, with less plot and added chocolaty offensiveness) – and the Muslim world will burn by the next Friday after prayers.

    This could be the plot for the next Austin Powers movie: “pay us… one million dollars… or we’ll upload a 15 minute movie that’ll set the Middle East on fire.”

    You have until noon tomorrow. Unmarked bills in a black bin bag, come alone, do not attempt to contact the police.

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  16. Mike Reynolds says:

    Quintin is absolutely correct (see my initial post). Only flaw is that they’d put a fatwa on you (bounty on your head). Still, there’d be some fools willing to risk that, either for the notoriety–or to deliberately precipitate a grand Clash of Civilizations (which we may be faced with anyway).

    • Mike Reynolds says:

      I actually like the Onion’s point. Note that they’re not doing
      this to enrage anyone who’s about to organize an embassy-burning. But I have seen postings on several Right-wing sites (I could name them, but why?) vowing to publish anti-Islamic work in order to provoke attacks on the West which will lead to apocalypse. They are openly hoping the West will–sooner than later–H-bomb Mecca and Medina. I mean, yes, Islamist terror is despicable and should be fought. But to call for genocide?? Disturbing.

  17. Douglas says:

    I dont much care for discourtesy and blasphemy,and I would certainly hope to see Western civilisation judged by something less wilfully provocative than Hebdo
    That being said I can see no point in self-censorship,which will inevitably lead on to the enforced marginalisation of the many Westerners who will not conform…another variant of the PC cancer.
    Even if strict blasphemy laws were enacted,at the expense of freedom of speech the clash of cultures would certainly continue.Where do you draw lines? Stop criticizing Sharia Law,the morals of the Prophet,the treatment of apostates and non-believers in Islamic countries?All this and much more is offensive to Muslims,and not just the extremists.What will be left of Western civilisation if we start travelling this road of knee-bending to Islam,either by self-censorship or UN Diktat?
    I am not any part of the ‘we’ who have an un-nuanced view of Islam incidentally.I would very much like to see less misunderstanding and friction.But this has to be a two-way process,not serial capitulation by the West.

    • Douglas, to my mind we already engage in self-censorship on a daily basis. I could rattle off a few slurs and curse words here (but interestingly won’t) that would help make my point for me. The question is why that sort of abuse is voluntarily avoided whereas poking fun at the Arabs seems to be, if you read David Betz’s follow-on post, the latest craze. That is the conundrum that I sought to explore with this post; it was not a call for serial capitulation.

    • David Betz says:

      I’m sorry did somebody mention ‘Arabs’ as a figure of ‘fun’? Not me. Among the points I made was that such views as expressed in ‘Innocence of Muslims’ are quite common among Arab Christians, and no doubt, for that matter, among such as Sudanese Christians (probably more so) too. It’s not a recent ‘craze’.

  18. Mike Reynolds says:

    Trouble is, the Islamic world evinces (what seems to us, anyway) a broad streak of insanity. The moderates don’t speak out enough.
    “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” Islamism doesn’t realize it is playing with fire. By the time the 1979-81 Iran hostage crisis ended, most of the world saw the Iranians as nothing but bloodthirsty savages. If they hadn’t released the hostages, I think Reagan had plans to put an end to their regime. Read VS Naipaul for a well-thought-out take on Iran. Also, it’s been asked what al-Qaeda expected to happen in the wake of 9/11. One answer is that they thought they’d be protected by Divine Intervention. Truly disturbing.

  19. Cincinnatusjr says:

    Neither a recent craze nor (assuming the premise is a valid one in the first instance) without reason in terms of the way Christian minorities have been mistreated in prominately muslim countries.

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