September 21, 2006


But still, you can feel the Western brain cells being rubbed together. . . . The idea that the West’s response to the Islamic challenge will only ever consist of the first hasty and opposed responses to 9/11, which were entirely what people already thought – “We all ought to get along better”, “We are provoking them”, “They must become more democratic”, and so on – is very foolish. The West – a vague label I know but it will serve – is the most formidable civilisation that the world has yet seen. It has faced down several recent and major challenges to its hegemony, and it will face down this one, I think, with whatever combination of sweet reason and cataclysmic brutality turns out to be necessary to get the job done. This challenge now seems bigger than the earlier ones. But they always do at the time, don’t they?

Indeed. Plus, “Be not afraid:”

The question that keeps popping in my mind – after the response to the Danish cartoons and now after Pope Benedict’s recent comments – is: why are we so afraid?

Culturally and religiously we are on the defensive in this War on Terror. And it makes no sense to me. We accept immoral expressions of outrage by Muslims across the world and yet fail to have any of our own justified moral indignation at their actions. Instead we apologize for causing their reactions. Perhaps I should apologize to my four year old for his little temper tantrum this morning and for the time he slugged his sister in the face with a toy.

We hold the high ground – we believe in individual liberty, we believe in religious tolerance, we believe in women’s rights, we believe in a narrow window for the just use of war – and we should not be afraid to stand tall and to express our outrage at the insane reactions we are seeing across the Muslim world. In fact their actions prove the point made previously in Danish cartoons and the quote from Pope Benedict. It is all well and good to be sensitive but it is quite another thing when Muslims actually manifest what we criticize. It is quite another thing when there is lack of reciprocity in Muslim treatment of Jews and Christians. They have yet to practice what they preach.

Read the whole thing.

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