Monday, February 06, 2006

Moderates speak

A group of moderate Muslims has started a website: We Are Sorry. Unfortunately they don't identify themselves, but what they do say is that not only the violence of the radicals (which has included several embassy-burnings and at least one kidnapping) but also the across-the-board boycott of all Danish products was inappropriate in response to the depictions of Mohammed last September. As it happens, I of course agree about the violence, but if the world's Muslims decide not to buy Danish for any reason or none, that's their own business.

Let me say that the reaction from some in the blogosphere, to initiate a "contest" to produce the most offensive image of Mohammed, is also inappropriate, but as a matter of free speech, permissible - if just barely, since it skates mighty close to the edge of incitement.

It remains to be seen whether the attempts of either side to elicit a hotter, larger, and more immediate conflict than we're already experiencing will succeed. I'm enough of a peacenik to hope that the conflict can be contained and limited, but not enough of one to believe that it can be solved by all parties' "just sitting down [why is sitting down always a part of these formulations?] and talking"; it's a part of Islam we're at war against, the faction that rejects the "internal struggle" interpretation of jihad in favor or the "infidels must convert or die" version, and the rest of Islam is going to have to choose a side eventually. The question is, will they choose on principle, or wait until the outcome is clear? If they choose now to side with the modern world, or if they wait until we win, the result is the same though our level of trust would be significantly lessened in the former case. If they choose now to side with the radical element, I believe we'll still win, but at greater cost to both sides as we're forced to recall and replay our own bloody history from times when our existence was similarly under assault.

This is a crummy post. I'm far more involved in reading about what's happening than in opining on it at present, but lest this page grow cold and dark, I'll keep trying to put something up regularly.

No comments: