I hereby invite any Muslim – mere believer, devout worshiper or radical fundamentalist – for a talk. I’ll make tea and if budget allows there will be biscuits too. You see, I’d like to understand what is going on right now across large swats of the small humid lump of mud we call home: Killings, burnings of Embassies, burnings of flags and more. And it seems to be but the start. All due to a repulsive, amateurish, ignorant and frankly completely deranged video. A video that would have garnered all but twenty viewers, had it been on any other topic.
Here’s my problem (which I hope you’ll help me solve): I believe that assaulting someone – let alone killing – because of deeply unjustified insults, is wrong. I further believe that resorting to physical violence of any kind as a reaction to an argument – to words and gestures – is wrong. No matter how stupid, repulsive or insulting it may be. I believe in dialog first and if that does not work before I get completely exhausted, indifference. Words, accusations, disgusting videos and satirical cartoons – no matter how awful – cannot affect me if I choose not to let them.
I also believe that if a person speaks out in ways that are completely unacceptable, it is wrong to condemn the entire nation of which he happens to be a part. Nobody speak on behalf of a whole nation – not even the King or the President. Every nation has its share of deranged and misguided people: Look no further than the peace loving country of Norway. If engagement is chosen, then it should be with the individuals or groups concerned. And without resorting to violence.
Why are people taking out their anger on people who have played no part in the provocation? Most of whom are no doubt as shocked and angered as the very people who resort to such levels of violence.
Anyone, in my view, who resort to violence in the face of words, lies and unfounded accusations, expose a weakness of the mind. A monumental lack of self control. He is, I find, an even lesser human being than the provocateur.
Can we talk about that? Can you help me understand?