The recent maelstrom of violence and destruction brought upon by a pathetic video has damaged diplomatic buildings in Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon and Yemen. It sparked large protests in Israel, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Pakistan. Many in the Mideast have begun denigrating the entire American identity — and a diplomat has been killed for representing it. The rational response typically discusses freedom of speech, tolerance or religious freedom.
The Mideast condemns both the provocative video and the violent reaction — all while quixotically puzzling over the U.S. feeling in the region. This undeserved privilege granted to religion is both tacit and ubiquitous. Faith in a religious structure whose leaders and members heinously co-op violence with suffering is hardly ever discussed as the root evil. Just in the past decade, stories about Salman Rushdie and Kurt Westgaard (the Danish cartoonist) didn't necessarily focus on the obscene death threats (or ax attacks), but rather constrained themselves to the aforementioned topics of equality — many times soberly condemning the authors before the contemptible clerics calling for their death.
How much more must we suffer before we realize that any art, film or printed word abhorrent to God will follow with violent retaliation? Any system that conditions its devout to murder its critics belongs to the 6th century. The only way to have a 21st-century conversation is to realize that the often-coined phrase “extremism” is simply a euphemism for “devout.”
Grant Meyer, Enid
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