Inadvertent Irony in Islamdom
No doubt you have all seen the pictures, on the telly or in the newspapers, of Islamic outrage over a cartoon initially published on September 30, 2005, in the Danish newspaper "Jyllands Posten". It wasn't until the cartoons were re-published in the French newspaper "France Soir" and the German "Die Welt" - and others - a few weeks ago that the "Islamic World" exploded in paroxysms of violence. Apparently, "Jyllands Posten" doesn't have a wide circulation among Muslims - and I can't find it at my local newsstand, either.
Here's the ironic part:
In response to cartoons that portray the Prophet Mohammed and Islam in general as promoting violence, destruction and murder, Muslims all over the world have exploded in an orgy of violence, destruction and murder.
I think that pretty much proves the point, don't you?
Images of Muslims rioting, burning embassies (usually the Danish Embassy, but they aren't too particular), screaming hate and invective while holding the Koran and burning home-made Danish flags (I suppose the local Angry Mob Supply shops don't stock flags other than US and British these days) has certainly driven home the point that Islam does not promote or even condone violence, destruction and murder. Right?
As my son would say - "Not!"
Let me make doubly sure that everyone is getting the point - people are dying and property is being destroyed because of a newspaper editorial cartoon.
A cartoon is killing people.
Seriously - I'm not making this up!
Those involved - at least, those who can calm down enough to talk to the ubiquitous reporters - claim that they are avenging an insult to the Prophet Mohammed. Apparently, destruction and murder in the name of the Prophet is not nearly as insulting to his memory as a cartoon. Am I missing something?
To be sure, not all Muslims are involved - not even a majority. However, the number of "prominent Muslims" (e.g. Imams and other Islamic religious leaders) who have condemned the violence has been...underwhelming. And I don't see any of them out in front of the mobs saying "Stop!"
Certainly the cartoons were in marginally poor taste - so are many political cartoons. And I have seen cartoons disrespectful of other religious icons on numerous occasions and have failed to note an explosion of rage and violence from Christians, Jews and Buddhists. So what has happened to the "Islamic World's" sense of proportion? These cartoons were worth a stern rebuke and a flurry of letters to the editor - perhaps even a boycott of "Jyllands Posten". But rioting, burning and killing?
Most of you - at least those who weren't out burning Danish flags and spewing spittle all over your Koran - are probably thinking, "There's got to be more to this than just a cartoon." And you're right - the "Islamic World" has a serious axe to grind with the West, and it all goes back to something that happened outside Vienna.
I can hear you say to yourself, "Vienna? What happened outside Vienna? What about Western exploitation, support of Middle Eastern dictatorships and support of Zionism?"
No, the problem actually started outside the city gates of Vienna when Jan Sobieski and a small force of Polish cavalry (Hussars) routed a Muslim army of over 300,000 (if you believe contemporary accounts, which may have inflated the numbers a bit) led by Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa. This was the high-water mark of the armies of Islam. From that moment on, they were on the defensive and were gradually pushed completely out of Europe. If it hadn't been for Jan Sobieski's gallant attack, Europe would now be Islamic and world events would have unfolded in a completely different fashion. Maybe better, maybe worse, but certainly different.
How do I know that this is what the Islamic world is really upset about? Let me tell you the date of Sobieski's attack:
September 11, 1683
How's that for a non-coincidence?
So, the next time someone in the Western world asks "Why do they hate us?" (and they will, you can bet), you can tell them to blame Jan Sobieski and those gallant and colorful Polish Hussars.