Hope After All?
To commenter Mere Muslim, and others who want to defend Islam, I suggest you emphasize stuff like this:
"Islam says it's all right to demonstrate but not to resort to violence. This must stop," said senior cleric Mohammed Usman, a member of the Ulama Council - Afghanistan's top Islamic organization. "We condemn the cartoons but this does not justify violence. These rioters are defaming the name of Islam."
And interestingly, a few days ago I spotted a familiar name among those condemning the violent reaction:
"In Iraq, the leading Shiite cleric denounced the drawings first published in a Danish newspaper in September, one of which depicted the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb. But the cleric also suggested militant Muslims were partly to blame for distorting the image of Islam."
Leading Shiite cleric? Wait a second, why does this AP story not say who that might be until the fourteenth paragraph to find out who that is? Oh, right:
"Iraq's leading Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, condemned the publications as a 'horrific action.'
"But in remarks posted on his Web site, al-Sistani referred to 'misguided and oppressive' segments of the Muslim community whose actions "projected a distorted and dark image of the faith of justice, love and brotherhood."
Now wait, why would the Associated Press be reluctant to say who condemned the violent reaction? Remember that for American liberals, there are two competing (although, in their mings, completely compatible) narratives for downplaying three successful Iraqi elections: first, that the government will be too pro-U.S., and therefore -- somehow -- illegitimate, and second, that the government will have too many Shi'ites, and therefore be pro-Iran, and therefore worse off than under Saddam.
Neither fear has materialized, and after the last elections it was pretty clear that no one faction has enough power to govern without compromise with other groups. But more importantly, if the main Shi'ite guy is taking a line directly opposed to the Iranian position, you'd think that would merit a mention in the first paragraph.
Then again, maybe not.