There, But for the Grace of Mohammed, Go I

No one is disputing that the small Danish newspaper that published the now infamous “Mohammed Cartoons” exercised poor taste, lack of respect, and poor judgment. People and organizations who were offended have every right to publicly lambaste the editors and cartoonists. They can and should boycott the newspaper, its advertisers, parent companies, etc. With any luck and determination they can drive the publication from business and make the people responsible unemployable in their fields.

Or… they could opt to burn embassies, issue calls for execution of those responsible, call off trade relations with Denmark, and boycott Danish dairy companies with no remote affiliation to the offense.

One of these choices is better than the other.

Many, including me, have called on people to not condemn all of Islam for the terrorist acts of a small minority. We have defended Islam as a noble and peaceful religion which a few people have hijacked for personal and political reasons. With regard to terror attacks, many Muslim clerics have openly condemned the 9/11 attacks, the London bus bombings, and other incidents. This goes a long way towards fostering a sense of tolerance.

But I have heard very little from the Muslim world condemning the violence of the response to the lampooning of their religion. And that is causing me to question my position of tolerance.

This incident could have very easily come about as a result of a U.S. publication. Would we want and expect our government to apologize for that act? Would we put up with people attacking our embassies over it? I think not. We might well join in the boycott of the offending company, and the editorial pages would be filled with ire, but violence is over the line.

Being offended gives no one the right to make sweeping attacks (physical or economic) on general populations. The Muslim world does not want us to think all Muslims are terrorists. Maybe they should start by recognizing that not all Danes are cartoonists.

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