Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Islamic Cartoon Insanity

When will they stop? When will it be "enough?" Probably not any time soon, after seeing the fervor of the protests today.

Things got very out of hand in Pakistan, where protesters set fire to western businesses:

Thousands of protesters rampaged through two cities Tuesday, storming into a diplomatic district and torching Western businesses and a provincial assembly in Pakistan's worst violence against the Prophet Muhammad drawings, officials said. At least two people were killed and 11 injured.

Security forces fired into the air as they struggled to contain the unrest in the eastern city of Lahore, where protesters burned down four buildings housing a hotel, two banks, a KFC restaurant and the office of a Norwegian cell phone company, Telenor.

U.S. and British embassy staffers were confined to their compounds until police dispersed the protesters, some of whom chanted, "Death to America!"

But they were even worse in Iran, where radical Islamists attacked the British embassy with Molotov cocktails, and then went after the German embassy:

The protesters, mostly religious seminary students, chanted "Death to Tony Blair", "Death to Britain" and Death to America" while throwing hundreds of stones at the embassy buildings, smashing many windows... "Insulting the Prophet disgusts us and nuclear energy gives us dignity," the crowd of about 200 people shouted. The West suspects Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons. Cheers erupted when a petrol bomb was thrown over the high wall surrounding the embassy compound in central Tehran. Several other petrol bombs struck the wall and the embassy's main gate. Scuffles broke out between the protesters and dozens of riot police trying to prevent the crowd from surging towards the embassy gates.

Stones and firecrackers were thrown at the nearby German embassy by a smaller crowd of protesters earlier on Tuesday. "Europe, Europe this is the last warning. Mohammad is the Prophet of compassion, America is the cause of all misery," the crowd of about 50 chanted outside the German embassy.

This is utter insanity. Protesting is a perfectly legal right, and one of the beauties of free societies. But torching embassies and businesses --let alone killing 2 people and injuring many more-- is certainly not. It is completely savage for individuals of a free state to abuse their right to protest and behave this way.

Pictures like these should never be possible.

I can't help but wonder, where does this hatred come from? There are many answers to that question, but in many cases, what it boils down to is that these protesters are simply completely misguided. The average Muslim does not commit these sorts of acts, despite the offense they might take to the cartoons portraying Mohammed.

The people who do these sorts of things are the radical Islamists who fly planes into bulidings, despise all that is western, and call America the Great Satan. Nonetheless, their actions are unacceptable, and should be condemned by both the West and Muslims who don't see violence as the answer to the world's problems.

For more on the effects of the cartoons, read this debate, which I found very intriguing and relevant.

Also, see this post about some more cartoon overreaction.