Another day, another racist provocation from the west directed at Muslims. And, of course, another opportunity for western politicos, journalists and assorted others to portray Muslims as irrational and intolerant when they choose to protest.
There is a long history of this vicious cycle – the most memorable example being the so called ‘Salman Rushdie affair’. The version most westerners get to hear goes like this: brave artist lampoons dangerous religion and is threatened by book burning fundamentalists. The real story is that Rushdie wrote a semi-literate anti-Muslim polemic, ‘The Satanic Verses’, which portrayed Muslim men as sexual predators and Muslim women as inviting of sexual violence.
Rushdie knew what he was doing of course; his accusations are established slanders against Muslims. Liberals were sent into a senseless frenzy by protests against the book. To be frank if I found a crowd of Jews burning copies of a book that perpetrates the blood libel I’d pass some matches, my attitude to the ‘Verses’ is much the same.
Our controversy is over a similarly disgusting work that portrays Muslims as infantile, sexually perverse, violent and insane. But this is not the full context for the rioting at embassies in Libya, Egypt and Yemen. These countries have long suffered under the heel of the United States – Libya is currently the subject of violent U.S intrusion, Egypt labours under a U.S backed military dictatorship and Yemen suffers near constant bombing.
Imagine, then, the reaction in the protesters minds to Hillary Clinton’s claim that the film is “no excuse for violence” (what excuses does she have?). And no wonder U.S officials are investigating whether the killing of a U.S ambassador in Benghazi is actually a more routine political assassination un-connected to the film.
Muslims around the world have ample reason to protest outside western embassies and this vile piece of hate cinema is just more fuel for the justified fire.