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Friday, November 30, 2007

Bears of little brain

'This sad little Sudanese tale is part of a larger story, from the Rushdie affair to the storm over the Danish cartoons, in which some Muslims, and some Muslim governments, seem to be almost searching for slights and fights, to be almost determined to be insulted, pushing aside those ready to take a more tolerant and relaxed view.

'There are objective reasons why Muslims are now more prickly about their rights and about what non-Muslims say about them than they used to be. But the resulting process is one in which the lines which non-Muslims must not cross are being repeatedly redefined, always more restrictively, at times with dire penalties threatened. The majority of Muslims may be much less concerned than the activists and radicals, but it is the activists and radicals who often set the pace. This constant raising of the bar does not increase respect for Islam but instead makes it appear coercive and threatening. In Sudan, it is not the bear which is of little brain.'

You can push even the Grauniad (for that, believe it or not, is the source of the above) too far. Norm comments perceptively.

A major reservation: the last sentence only follows from the one before on the assumption that the Sudanese government's concern is with increasing respect for Islam. On the contrary, it is very happy to appear coercive and threatening, because that is precisely what it is.

1 comment:

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Grauniad... Unbelievable. How could I have missed this one?