Skip to comments.Muslim world is more peaceful than media would have us believe
Posted on 08/25/2003 9:33:18 PM PDT by Utah Girl
Sitting in Cairo in a flat borrowed from a friend. Turn on the TV and catch the news on BBC World: six stories in 15 minutes. Iraqi guerillas blow up a couple of pipelines. European hostages released by Muslim guerillas in Mali. Nigerian peacekeeping troops in Liberia. Rioting between Muslim sects in Pakistan. Iceland resumes whaling. Islamist terrorists arrested in Indonesia. End of world news.
Four out of six: that's how many of the stories were about Muslims who do violent things. That would make sense if two-thirds of the world's people were Muslims, and most of them were violent. Because only one-fifth of the world's people are Muslims, and many of them don't even spank their children, it calls for an explanation. Especially because the international news is like this most of the time.
BBC World is not particularly bad. In fact, from Minnesota to Moscow to Manila it is the preferred source of TV news for people with an interest in the world, a knowledge of English and access to cable. It is serious about delivering "balanced" news to a multi-national audience, and yet it is doing an absolutely terrible job. Why?
Consider the four "Muslim" stories among the BBC World six I listed at the top of this article. The Iraq story is legitimate. When the world's greatest power is sinking into a political and military quagmire, it is going to get coverage. But why Muslim hostage-takers in Mali rather than politically motivated kidnappers in Colombia? Why sectarian clashes between Muslims in Pakistan rather than inter-caste violence among Hindus in India?
The story of suspected terrorists arrested for the Marriott hotel bombing in Jakarta is of legitimate interest, but there's a lot less follow-up when suspected Basque terrorists are arrested in Spain, or when a resurgent Sendero Luminoso blows something up in Peru. The BBC is not anti-Muslim, but it is responding to a definition of international news that makes "violent Muslims" more newsworthy than violent people in other places.
It is largely a Western definition, following an agenda set mainly by the dominant U.S. media. It is rooted in Western perspectives on the long-running Arab-Israeli conflict, and has been vastly strengthened by the Islamist terrorist attack on the United States two years ago. It is also a steaming heap of horse-feathers.
I am not preaching pious nonsense about Islam being a "religion of peace." The only peaceful religions are dead religions. And I am not denying that the Muslim world has a big historical chip on its shoulder. Having run one of the most powerful and respected civilizations on the planet for the first 1,000 years after they burst out of Arabia and conquered large chunks of Europe, Asia and Africa, Muslims have spent the past three centuries being overrun, colonized and humiliated by the West. But the image of Muslims that the rest of the world gets through international news coverage is deeply misleading.
For the past month I have been wandering around the Middle East with eight other members of my extended family. For some, it was their first time in the region; others of us have lived here or visited often enough to be able to lead everybody astray. And we gave less thought to our personal safety -- and much less to petty theft -- than we would have done on a comparable trip across America, or even through Europe.
I won't go on about how kind and friendly most of the people we met were, because most people are like that everywhere. I would point out that every single person I discussed current events with was against the U.S. invasion in Iraq, but that I nevertheless encountered no personal hostility although I am easily mistaken for an American. (Would an Arab doing a similar trip around the United States have the same experience?)
If Iraq gets completely out of hand, the patience and tolerance that still prevail at street level in the Muslim Middle East will be severely eroded, and even Asian Muslim countries may end up taking sides against the United States and Britain. But for the moment Samuel Huntington's nightmare vision of a coming "clash of civilizations" is still a long way off, and the most striking thing is the sheer ordinariness of daily life in the Muslim world. Don't be misled by television.
I suppose they were mad about western intrusions and Palestine.
The truth is, there is something FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG with these people and their view of their religion. The other problems in the world are just disconnected whacko's. Islamic Fundamentalism is a globally linked problem.
You had better, or they will kill you.
Huh? Where is there any peace in the Muslim world? Daily bloodbaths in Afghanistan, where they pick on little girls and shut down their schools. The Saddamites destroying the peace and standing in the way of democracy in Iraq. Brutal violence between Iraq and Iran for ten years, until there were no more young men left to die. Muslims in Pakistan attacking India and Kashmir almost dialy. Bloosdhed in Indonesia, and Islamic terror attacks in the Philippines. Terror bombings and shootouts in Saudi Arabia. Daily killing of Christians by Muslims in Rwanda, and the Sudan. Brutal oppression of Christians by the Muslims in Lebanon. Palestinian murderers destroying the peace plan in Isreal with unprovoked bus bombings. And of course there is Somalia, Yemen, Syria, and Libya, none of them peaceful nations or bastions of freedom. Wherever there is Islam, there is misery and death.
Check your math. 10% of 1,200,000,000 is 120,000,000.
Yikes! Its late here on the East Coast! The actual figure makes the situation more grim indeed.
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