As the latest affront to Islam spreads across the globe, here is a sampling of the sentiments being expressed by media writers in the Middle East regarding the controversial film “Innocence of Muslims” and the publication of offensive cartoons in a Paris-based satirical weekly magazine.
From Abu Dhabi: Ignore the insults
“Like a child who feels neglected, the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo has seized upon a juvenile way to win some extra attention: make trouble. As any parent will tell you, the best way to deal with such provocation is to ignore it, as long as possible.” – The National’s editorial on Thursday.
From Egypt: Muslims' failure in response
“Being angry because of such humiliating and misleading cheap propaganda, I believe is totally comprehensible. But it is a matter of how to express such anger. Muslims in one way or another have shown a great failure of expressing and dealing with their rejection to such a humiliation of their prophet.” – Maher Hamoud, The Daily News of Egypt, on Thursday.
From a Saudi columnist: Blame the entire U.S.
“The U.S. administration is fully responsible for the acts of its citizens. When a man commits a grave error, his country is fully responsible for the act, especially when taking into account its consequences.” – Hassan Tahsin, writing in the Saudi Gazette about the film “Innocence of Muslims.”
From a Saudi resident: Blame the individual
“In the wake of the latest events, not only have some Muslims forgotten these great virtues of Sunnah, but we have also forgotten that a nation doesn’t stand for one imbecile nor are one imbecile’s views shared by the whole nation.” – Riyadh resident Durre Fatima, in a letter to Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper on Thursday.
From Dubai: 'Clash of Civilizations' in play
“It is important to recognise that working together means managing a clash of priorities between western democracies, which since the Enlightenment of the mid-1700s have stopped using religion as their touchstone and instead take the individual’s libertarian rights as their most important political motivator, and many Muslim majority countries where religion is the most significant political and social motivator.” – Francis Matthew, in a column in Thursday’s edition of Gulf News.
From Israel: U.S. should have invested in tolerance, not guns
“If the U.S. over the past 30 years had invested the same amount of funds to promote religious tolerance in the Middle East as it did for military assistance, ‘Innocence of Muslims’ might have evoked no more violence than Monty Python's ‘Life of Brian’ (although it would certainly have fewer fans ).” – Natasha Mozgovaya, in Thursday’s edition of Haaretz.
From Qatar (via Copenhagen): Art as a weapon
“This video also gives a glimpse of the fragile relationship and misunderstandings between the Muslim world and the West/United States. It is evident from this film that to create further rifts and misunderstandings between different cultures, it is not necessary to commit an act of violence. Films like these, unfortunately, may have a much more negative effect in bringing any positive change in common understanding and further deepen the gulf.” – Sheikh Abdullah Khan, a Copenhagen-based imam, in an editorial in Thursday’s edition of Qatar’s Gulf Times.
From Kuwait: Republicans seize the moment
“There’s no doubt that US relations with post-‘Arab Spring’ primarily Sunni countries have been damaged. President Obama, who backed the ousting of dictatorial leaders in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen to various degrees, will be tempted to feel that his pro-democracy policies in the region were ill-advised faced with such seeming ingratitude from sections of newly-liberated populations. The American people are naturally angered by the killing of their diplomats and the US president is being berated by opportunist Republicans for being ‘soft.’” -- Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, in Thursday’s edition of Kuwait’s Arab Times.
A pan-Arab view from London: It's a manufactured crisis
“In this respect it can be said that America has found itself in the midst of a crisis manufactured by a group of people with minds full of animosity and prejudice, with an underlying hatred against Islam and Muslims, who want to create crises to drive a wedge between Muslims and the rest of the world and ignite what is sometimes called the clash of civilizations.” – Osman Mirghani, in Wednesday’s edition of the London-based, Saudi owned pan-Arabic newspaper Asharq al Awsat.
From Al-Jazeera: Dousing Arab Spring's hope
“There are also geo-political reasons for the recent violence -- long-enmity to the West, economic and social unrest, and agent provocateurs in the Muslim world who are trying to destabilise new Arab leadership. Muddying the water may be these provocateurs' main game, using the film is just a catalyst for their violence. Ordinary citizens, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, are caught between these extremes and left shocked by the sudden outpouring of violence, dousing for many what had been the hope of the Arab Spring.” – Muhammad Abdul Bari, on Abu Dhabi-based Al-Jazeera, on Thursday.