Forget, if you can, that Peaches Geldoff has recently taken her son Astala and dog Parpy for a stroll and that Kourteny Kardashian has already managed to get back to a ‘fighting fit’ slim figure just ten weeks after giving birth to baby Penelope. Forget even - yes, I know it’s difficult, but, please, just try, even if for just a few minutes - that Kelly Osbourne thinks that Lady Gaga is pregnant, not just getting fat on too many pizzas and that Kim Kardashian has charmed her way into the hearts of police on promotional tour in Australia. (What is she promoting? Kim Karadashian, of course. Silly me). Today, in its customary lighthearted mood, this blog intends to turn its attention to a rather more mundane mattter, that is the Muslim ‘outrage’ the world over.
And what has upset them? Why an extremely badly made film in California which was subsequently overdubbed to insult the prophet Mohammed. In fact, so outraged were Muslims in Libya that they felt it necessary to murder the U.S. ambassador to express their outrage, and since then outraged Muslims have been demonstrating, sometimes violently in other predominantly Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon and Malayasia. Talk about a sense of proportion - it seems these lads don’t give a fig for the latest Lady Gaga, Peaches Geldoff and Kardashian family gossip.
A mob is a mob is a mob anywhere in the world, whether in Cairo, Benghazi, Woking, Galashiels, Peoria or Buenos Aires, and in an odd kind of way a mob seems to become more than just the sum of its parts. So when ‘a mob’ is responsible for the death of one or more people as it expresses its outrage, no one in that mob feels him or herself (though it has to be said it is invariably himself) specifi - ‘the mob’ is to be blamed for the death, not individuals.
Furthermore, mobs can easily be manipulated, a fact which no end of unscrupulous men and women have known for centuries and successfully made use of. We know that once whatever idiot it was who made the film which insulted the Prophet Mohammed had - very badly - overdubbed it to include the insults (apparently the film started life as some kind of D movie about the desert), the film was channelled into Muslim countries - one report I heard was that a fundamentalist Christian group was involved which enlisted the help of Egyptian Coptic Christian. Whoever did that knew exactly what the consequences would be and knew also that unscrupulous Muslim rabble-rousers would gleefully seize upon the film to futher their own agend.
It has been recorded that the outrage of many Muslims was based on the ‘fact’ that apparently ‘U.S. state television’ had broadcast the film. That the U.S. doesn’t have, and has never had, a ‘state television’ is quite irrelevant: the mob believed it to be true, and so it became ’a truth’ and so the mob went on its self-righteous rampage. Yet ironically, however stupid ‘the mob’ is, in a sense it is blameless: it has no mind and its violence is literally mindless. But far, far more disturbing is the attitude of Muslims who should and quite possibly do know better.
Last Monday, four of them were interviewed on Radio 4’s The World Tonight. They were all, three men and a woman, British Asian professionals - they insisted that the programme should highlight that they were professionals: one was an engineer, one a businessman (or woman) and two were doctors. They were articulate and - I assume - intelligent, but they were certainly educated people. Most significant was that they were all members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which likes to describe itself as ‘the Liberation party’ and which organised a demonstration last Sunday outside the US embassy in London. These four, who had all taken part in the demo and who, one imagines, listen to radio and TV news, would most certainly have been aware of the untruths being put about in order to fuel the mobs’ outrage: it is inconceivable that - as intelligent, educated and professional people - they sincerely believed that the US government had indeed brazenly broadcast the insulting film on ‘state TV’. Yet they chose to ignore what they must have known to be untrue and took part in the demo and later agreed to be interviewed on Radio 4’s The World Tonight to justify their actions and the actions of violent mobs in many parts of the Muslim world. You have to ask yourself: why?
Hizb ut-Tahrir’s website has published an open letter to non-Muslims about the film and the ‘insult to the Prophet Mohammed’ (you can read it here) and it has the gall to castigate Western ‘hypocrisy’. The first paragraph of this open letter reads:
'It is a centuries-old Islamic tradition to engage in debate, tolerate criticism and hear the critiques of others. But insults against Islam, such as those in the recent film and cartoons, are unacceptable provocations that cross a red line that no Muslim or decent human being would ever accept. As such we condemn them in the strongest possible terms, as we do any such insults against Islam and the symbols of our religion; especially those against the greatest man ever, the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.’
The open letter goes on:
We do not condone the recent violence that has broken out in response, but the blood-stained track record of Western foreign policy and hypocrisy regarding free speech means that all right to take the moral high ground has been forfeited when arguing that violence is an unacceptable response to this provocation, or when arguing that freedom of speech is sacred.
Does Hizb up-Tahrir and its four intelligent, educated and professional members who agreed to be interviewed on Radio 4 really believe that outright murder and innocent deaths are justifiable in defence of imagined insults against the Prophet Mohammed? Well, apparently they do.
I also wonder what Hizb up-Tahrir would have to say about the hypocrisy of its fellow Muslims who are quite happy to hand out awful insults to other faiths and their followers. Because or all the noble talk about not tolerating insults to Islam, many Muslims are far from shy about grossly insulting not only Jews and Christians, but their fellow Muslims. Here is a list (which I have taken from the New York Times website and which appeared here in one of its columns) of exceedingly gross insults made by Muslims (follow links for original source):
ON CHRISTIANS: Hasan Rahimpur Azghadi of the Iranian Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution: Christianity is “a reeking corpse, on which you have to constantly pour eau de cologne and perfume, and wash it in order to keep it clean.” — July 20, 2007.
Sheik Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi: It is permissible to spill the blood of the Iraqi Christians — and a duty to wage jihad against them. — April 14, 2011.
Abd al-Aziz Fawzan al-Fawzan, a Saudi professor of Islamic law, calls for “positive hatred” of Christians. Al-Majd TV (Saudi Arabia), — Dec. 16, 2005.
ON SHIITES: The Egyptian Cleric Muhammad Hussein Yaaqub: “Muslim Brotherhood Presidential Candidate Mohamed Morsi told me that the Shiites are more dangerous to Islam than the Jews.” — June 13, 2012.
The Egyptian Cleric Mazen al-Sirsawi: “If Allah had not created the Shiites as human beings, they would have been donkeys.” — Aug. 7, 2011.
The Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan video series: “The Shiite is a Nasl [Race/Offspring] of Jews.” http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/51/6208.htm — March 21, 2012.
ON JEWS: Article on the Muslim Brotherhood’s website praises jihad against America and the Jews: “The Descendants of Apes and Pigs.” — Sept. 7, 2012.
The Pakistani cleric Muhammad Raza Saqib Mustafai: “When the Jews are wiped out, the world would be purified and the sun of peace would rise on the entire world.” — Aug. 1, 2012.
Dr. Ismail Ali Muhammad, a senior Al-Azhar scholar: The Jews, “a source of evil and harm in all human societies.” — Feb. 14, 2012.
ON SUFIS: A shrine venerating a Sufi Muslim saint in Libya has been partly destroyed, the latest in a series of attacks blamed on ultraconservative Salafi Islamists. — Aug. 26, 2012.
It does seem to me that for many of the more fanatical Muslims there is one rule for them and another for everyone else. There is very little quite as unpleasant as the stench of hypocrisy. (All the above references were published in a piece by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times. You can read it here.)
. . .
I keep a keen eye on the so-called ‘stats’ provided by Google which tell me not only how many people have chanced up - or even knowingly returned to - this blog in any given day, week, month or year, but also where they live, what browser they use, what computer operating system they use, whether they are using a computer, tablet, iPad or smartphone when visiting and, crucially, whether they loathe hypocrisy as much as I do. The stats also tell me which sites are used to ‘refer’ the searcher to this blog and what are the most visited blog entries.
By far the most popular is one which features one Tony Blair, one Christine Keeler and one Mandy Rice-Davies. It includes a cartoon of Blair and a photo each of Christine and Mandy (my familiarity is gratuitous in that I don’t know either of the two ladies and am highly unlikely to meet either at any time soon.) But it did occur to me that to drum up more visits, I should include in each post a pic of both of them. So that is exactly what I intend to do.
(Incidentally, this second part of this entry has bugger all to do with Muslim, Muslim outrage, the Prophet or anything of that kind. The principle I am working on is that you can, indeed, have too much of a good thing.)