And the French riots provide an indication of what to do and what not to do. First thing to do is to stop overreacting with anger - that is exactly what the terrorists want. These are blood thirsty and dangerous brutes to be sure. But we do not need to immerse ourselves in their propaganda and rehash it.
With all do respect AJ we do need to get to the heart of their propeganda because those who call this World War IV have an excellent point. We had a World War III but did so in an evolved manner where few shots were fired and the war was fought in a non conventional manner against a system of states we disagreed with.
The other side in World War IV however is now not states, and World War III showed us some of that. Its an Ideology and a philosophy... the good guys are starting to win the war on the ground, but the war is striking at the homeland to. I've read something at the trends of Radicalism in europe and we see the same folks who would be ideologically in the Red Brigades of old now saying "Europe is the cancer and Al-Qaeda is the answer." I think this war is being fought from Barcelona to Moscow, From London to Sydney as a non traditional war where propeganda matters. If the perpetual poverty and welfare state existance of 2nd,3rd, and 4th generation muslims doesn't change then we won't see suicide bombers from Riyadh we'll be seeing them from The Hauge. So we need to fight this non traditional war against a non traditional enemey the right way and not the wrong way. For that we do need to look into the propeganda and get an understanding of it.
But I -Am- with you that we don't need to use this Propeganda to harden our hearts. The Muslim world is begining to flower with freedom and democracy... but if we harden our hearts we will starve those flowers.
Third, we all need to set the example of how to use free speech in a civil manner. Don’t yell at Muslims. Do not mock them either. Hamid Karzai did an excellent job of supporting the right to free speech while upholding respect of others. Tolerance is respecting others you have little in common with and is not simple to do. So, if we need to post picture after picture of Muslim radicals, somehow we have to remember to post a picture now and then of someone like Karzai who remains a strong US ally helping us to fight these radicals.
I've brought up Jihad Momani ...others have brought up the Grand Ayatollah Sistani. Some folks in the Muslim world who have the position to make the case better then the west does are trying. (In the case of Sistani their are internal matters like the Iranians trying to subvert his power and authority... but I'll not go that far into a tangent)
I think if we are going to mock and scoff at the radicals -which in measured doses I see no fault with- we do need to highlight the folks getting it right.
Its like the case that made Larry Flynt a hero in constitutional law which dovetails in with what Karzai said. However the language of culture for such ideas is still pretty new there and doesn't yet have strong roots. And we'd fail as a society if we don't work to grow those roots.
I am not a practicing Christian and I can see some aspects of Islam that are worthy of respect. In other words, I am not in the mood for a clash of civilizations and see no reason to start one over some stupid cartoons.
Ok I am not a Christian nor a member of any other faith (though i've flirted with a few) so I can say this
Religions have nothing worthy of respect or scorn....
Religion is an assembly of ideas which men can use; strongly or softly, ignore or champion, reject or embrace....
What is worthy of respect is not these ideas but the hearts of men. I can say of the Muslims I deal with in school on a regular basis their are many who as a matter of their Muslim faith have strengths of charecter enhanced and I respect that deeply.....
and their are those who here, and on the world wide web I have seen who used their religion to highlight the worst of their souls.
And such is the case with all religions. It isn't the Religion that is good but those who believe, how they believe, and how they use that belief to make their lives and the world better is what matters.
Are we in control or have we allowed Al Qaeda to control this situation? Riots do not work if people do not over react. To kill this fire off simply requires suffocating the PR oxygen that feeds it. No news cameras or pictures will suffocate the will of the instigators.
AJ here is a flaw in your thinking which got highlighted to me today in my Europe class.
The Reason totalitarian communism had to be ended violently in Romania and not elsewhere was because the Romanian Regime was willing to do anything to keep and preserve its power.
These protestors who are getting a decent (but not massive) spike of PR in the western world will kill, will burn, and will do any act of violence to turn the eyes of the west
and our eyes will turn because such violence sickens us
So extinguishing the flames isn't the answer
taking away the logs before the fire is lit -is- the answer