Archive for September 17th, 2012

To judge by news coverage  you would think that the whole Muslim world has taken to the streets, violently protesting the crude anti-Islamic video that was filmed in the United States. It is the lead item most days in the news, with daily updates on the latest riot.

Right wing talk radio is even more incendiary, using the latest uproar to prove once again that “we” are at war with Islam, and that the fanatics will stop at nothing short of a caliphate and the imposition of Sharia law in the US. Jim Quinn, of the “War Room” show this morning exceeded his usual idiocy- quite the feat- by claiming that everywhere Muslims are acting violently and “spreading hatred of Christ”. Of course no Muslim would dream of such a thing, as Christ is highly revered by Islam; not as the Son of God, certainly, but as a great prophet.

But in fact what is going on?

In the riot that took the life of the American ambassador and three others there were “hundreds” of rioters. This, in Benghazi, a city of some 680,000.

In Kabul a couple of days ago several hundred protesters grew violent. Kabul has 3 million people.

In Cairo “thousands” rioted, in a city of 6.76 million.

And in Karachi Pakistan yesterday around a thousand rioted. There are 18 million people in Karachi.

If the Muslim world were really up in arms you would expect demonstrations with hundreds of thousands of people, even a million or so in Cairo or Karachi.

But you get a few hundred, maybe a thousand?

Spare me. While violent fanatics make headlines, the media and the pundits have betrayed their duties by not noting this perspective.

I hope that most Muslims are not reacting violently because they have googled the video in question, which- while crudely offensive- is really stupid. It looks like a Monty Python skit, or maybe one of the B- movies that Joel and the ‘bots ridicule in a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 episode.

But at any rate to portray these widely scattered relatively small riots as perpetrated by anything but a tiny fraction of Muslims would be laughable if it were not for the fact that so many take this seriously.

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My Day at the Zoo

I am posting late today because I spent the whole day at the Cleveland Zoo with my bride and younger children. We hadn’t been all summer- it was too hot when I was on vacation- and my daughter, who goes to Catholic school, was off for a teachers’ day or something, so I packed her and her homeschooled brother and the littles and we went to the zoo.

Where I spent a lot of time looking at the humans. I don’t like crowds, so any time in a public place is interesting, especially in an urban area. There was quite the mix, black and white and brown and short and thin and fat. Actually, a lot of fat. When I visualized life in the twenty first century back in the sixties I pictured jet packs and flying cars, not a world with so many large people. Or people with tattoos and piercings and weird hair.

But there it is, the future, before my eyes.

And I saw Muslims and Hindus, and Africans, but no Orthodox Jews or Amish, like we usually do on a trip to the zoo.

And it is not like a trip to Rome, where at the pilgrimage sites you see humanity in even greater diversity, but united by something larger.

At the zoo you realize that you share not much with most of these humans; not philosophically or theologically or morally or politically or culturally. Just your common humanity, which in the world as it is has to be enough to live and work together.

I know the record of humans is not good on that, but one must hope.

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